On Friday a Referendum will take place in Ireland and if you are an Irish citizen you are allowed and definitely should vote. As a foreigner myself and many of you are not allowed to vote. But that doesn’t stop us from having an opinion and having a right to have an opinion. Nobody has to agree, but that is the case with all opinions, isn’t it?
One of the two questions on Friday is if the Seanad should be abolished (YES) or if it should be kept (NO). In the beginning of that discussion there was a strong opinion in favour of closing it, it seemed, but oddly this changed in the last few weeks.
The Seanad is a totally and utterly undemocratic institution. Many many people in Ireland are never allowed to vote for any of the members. It is set up in such a way that always the current government has a majority in the Seanad and it seems to be the political retirement home of Ireland.
The reason why many are never allowed to vote is because a strange system was chosen when it was set up that allows for example people who went to SOME of the Irish Universities to vote and others not and if you didn’t go to university then you most likely are not allowed to vote. The reason why the government always will have a majority is because the Taoiseach is putting 11 unelected (usually failed) party members and friends in as Senators.
If it is not bad enough that the Senate is completely undemocratic, it gets worse if you look at what it has every achieved. It is meant to be a control instance (an Upper House) that controls the Dail (Lower House), but the Senate is not even allowed to veto anything. All they can do is delay a law and if I read that right, they did that only TWICE in their whole history. No surprise if the current government has always the majority in the Senate.
Recently many started saying the Senate should remain but it HAS to be overhauled. And interestingly Fianna Fail, the party that was in government until the last elections and for many years until then is the loudest shouter. The demand correction of the Seanad, but wait, why did they NEVER make an attempt when they were in power? A total joke!
In my opinion it would be good to have a control instance, an Upper House. But that won’t happen with the current Senate and repairing is sometimes not possible. If the foundation of your house is totally useless, then you have to tear down the house and build it new. Getting the paint can out will not make any significant difference.
The Senate is a house that needs to be torn down and re-built or a car that needs to be taken off the road because it failed ALL tests and it has to be newly built! Everything else will not achieve anything and it is not even clear if the politicians in government or in the opposition know how to fix it anyway because no one submitted a comprehensive plan.
So, I would vote YES! Get rid of it and then re-build it again. You say the rebuilding will not happen? Well the parties that think it should be there have to submit a proper proposal and even if the Senate will be gone for 4 or 8 years, it is better to do that than to keep a totally useless organisation in place.