Thursday, 7 November 2019
Report of the Seanad Reform Implementation Group: Statements
John Paul Phelan (Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
I thank the Leas-Cheann Comhairle.
The Manning report adopted the principled objective to develop and strengthen the vocational nature of the Seanad. The report points out, however, that vocational panels are not evident in the way in which debates are structured in the House. Greater prominence could be given to the panels by periodically scheduling special debates on broad themes related to them. Speaking arrangements could prioritise Senators elected to the relevant panels.
It is clear that we have not quite reached a consensus on Seanad reform proposals. The Government wants to pursue consensus by working with Members of this House and the Upper House. Today's debate provides a welcome opportunity for a conversation on electoral and non-electoral reforms of Seanad Éireann. I look forward to hearing the views of Deputies.