Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland voting to Seanad proposed

Irish Senate
Image caption The Seanad √Čireann (Irish senate) is the upper house of the Irish parliament

Voting to the upper house of the Irish parliament should be extended to Northern Ireland and abroad, a working group on reform has recommended.

The Working Group on Seanad Reform has also recommended a majority of Seanad seats be elected by popular vote.

The Seanad has existed for more than 90 years.

In 2013, voters in the Republic of Ireland rejected a government proposal to abolish it.

The Working Group on Seanad Reform's recommendations include:

  • Thirty-six of the 60 seats be directly elected from five vocational panels and from the university constituency
  • Thirteen of the 60 seats be indirectly elected from an electoral college of all elected county and city councillors, TDs (MPs) and outgoing senators
  • Concept of vocational representation be retained but modernised
  • Legislative change with a view to ensuring access to nomination for as wide a range of candidates as is necessary to reflect the complexity and diversity of modern Irish society.

The group said its principal objective was "the restructuring and reforming of Seanad √Čireann to bring it into line with international best practice for second houses of parliament in the 21st century".

The report also included timelines and processes for the implementation of its recommendation.

The working group included a draft bill as part of its final report, which will be available within the next four weeks.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said the report will not sit on the shelf along with others on the same topic.

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