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Sinn Féin table motion to progress much needed Seanad Reform - Rose Conway-Walsh

27 May, 2016 - by Rose Conway-Walsh

Sinn Féin Seanad Leader, Rose Conway-Walsh, has today put down a motion to establish a Seanad committee on political reform which the party intends tabling at the first sitting of the new Seanad.
Senator Conway-Walsh said:

"The Seanad is elitist and undemocratic. The recommendations of previous reports have been left to gather dust on the shelf and any changes introduced have been piecemeal.  
"The Government’s referendum proposal to abolish the Seanad three years ago was rejected by the people. However, what was accepted by all party's involved on either side of that campaign was that the Seanad cannot be retained in its current form.
"Despite the countless promises over decades by the establishment parties to reform the Seanad, they have abjectly failed to deliver anything of substance.  
"On twelve separate occasions reports were produced proposing reform, the latest in 2015, yet none were implemented.  
"Sinn Féin has today put down a motion seeking to establish a committee on the political reform of the Seanad. If agreed, this committee would be time-limited and their recommendations brought onto the floor of the Seanad for a vote in a number of weeks.

"We want the Seanad to meet swiftly without any further delay and for the political reform of the Seanad to be top of the agenda.

"We are inviting all parties and Independent Senators to support the motion by adding their name and support to it and demonstrate their commitment to real reform.”

Copy of Motion as submitted;

“That, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders– 

(a)   the sub-Committee on Seanad Political Reform shall be chaired by the Cathaoirleach and include not more than 20 other members of the House, of which membership will be determined on a proportionate basis as per Party and Technical Groups and Independent Senators; and that provision be made for the substitution of members as allowed for under Standing Orders.

(b)   the Cathaoirleach shall announce the names of the members appointed for the information of the Seanad on the first sitting day following their appointment; 

(d) any member or political party may make a submission on Seanad political reform to the sub-Committee which shall review these submissions, including that of the Seanad Reform Working Group established in 2015, and report back to the Seanad within four weeks with a series of recommendations for the approval of the House, including the role of a reformed Seanad within the political process; powers and functions of a reformed Seanad and any legislative change; how the institutions conducts its business, including a review of Standing Orders.

(e) the sub-Committee shall present an interim report on their working arrangements at a full sitting of the Seanad within one week of its establishment and first meeting of the sub-committee, and that it will include initial consideration on appropriate rules regarding the establishment of technical groupings in the Seanad and arrangements for the management of the ordering of Seanad business in the interim period while the sub-Committee is sitting.”

—Rose Conway-Walsh, Paul Gavan, Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, Fintan Warfield, Máire Devine, Niall Ó Donnghaile, Padraig MacLochlainn

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