Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Order of Business
Rónán Mullen (Independent)
There are occasional outbreaks of discussion in the House on the future of the Seanad and there have been a number of calls for a more extended reflection on our institutions and in particular the future of the Seanad. A very useful contribution has been made, however, by the inaugural parliamentary fellow in these Houses, Mr. Brian Hunt, who has written a report on the role of the Houses of the Oireachtas in the scrutiny of legislation. It would be very useful if his report which is available in the Oireachtas Library was to form the basis for a discussion in this House. He has raised a number of relevant issues, but he has expressed opposition to the proposed abolition of the Seanad on the basis that he believes at least one serious attempt at reforming it should be made before it is considered for abolition. He points out that should it be abolished, the major question that would arise is, in view of the importance of the role played by the Seanad during the legislative process, what would take its place. He says if the Seanad is not to be replaced by another legislative forum, there is a question about whether the legislative process in the other House would be enhanced and lengthened. Clearly, this gentleman who has considered the issues involved in detail believes merely abolishing the Seanad is not a runner as a sensible reform. He was the inaugural Oireachtas or parliamentary fellow and we should take his good work very seriously. It deserves to be debated in this House.
I am not a member of the Fine Gael parliamentary party, but if I were-----