Seanad debates

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Seanad Bill 2020: Second Stage

 

10:30 am

Barry Ward (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

Yes, there is also a lack of press coverage. I, of all people, would like to do more about that but it is not within my gift, unfortunately.

Last week, when we debated the Bill brought forward by Senator Byrne and his colleagues, I said that in 2003, the then Senator Mary O'Rourke, who I believe was Leader of the House at the time, chaired a committee on Seanad reform to which I contributed. I had the privilege of sitting in the Seanad Chamber for the first time and making known my views on the Seanad. My views then were more radical than the measures proposed in this Bill but I also recognise they would have required substantial constitutional as well as legislative reform.

The provisions in this Bill are wonderful. There is a great deal of good material in it, much of which I support. However, I do not support the Bill in its entirety and in that regard I echo what other Members have said. I do not want to be so precious as to suggest it is denigration of the 43 Senators elected on the panel system but I take issue with the suggestion that this House is not democratically elected. That was said during the debate last week and I resist that suggestion.

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