Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane today urged an Taoiseach to introduce radical and meaningful reform of the Seanad, rather than minimalist and piecemeal reform. Senator Cullinane was speaking after attending a briefing of party leaders by an Taoiseach on Seanad reform.
Speaking after the briefing, Senator Cullinane said:
“The Seanad needs a fresh start; minimalist and piecemeal reforms are not enough.
“I today took the opportunity to urge an Taoiseach to seize the opportunity to go for radical and meaningful reform, to establish a forum representing and empowering those currently least powerful in Irish society.
“I am calling for the extension of the remit of the Constitutional Convention to consider legislative and constitutional Seanad reform.
“The Seanad must become a fully inclusive, representative and accountable institution. This requires direct election by way of universal franchise of all Irish citizens, on the same day as the Dáil vote, northern and representatives from the diaspora, 50% female membership and representation of marginalised minority groups within Irish society.
“The Seanad’s primary role, whilst functioning as a balance in the Oireachtas, should be independent initial scrutiny of EU legislation from proposal stage, of Statutory Instruments and Ministerial appointments, and to ensure equality-proofing of all legislation.