Issue 20 - September 2011

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New Seanad procedures

The Seanad approved, on 29th September (Seanad Eireann, 29th September 2011, 462-3), a new procedure where by a Seanad Public Consultation Committee be established of 11 members, whose role it would be to provide a direct engagement with the people.  The Seanad shall:

  • Publicize an issue of legislation or policy, for which it will invite submissions;
  • Arrange for private or public sessions to discuss;
  • Convene public sessions in the Seanad chamber outside sitting times, open to all, including television;
  • Prepare and refer reports for further debate accordingly.


Editor’s comment: Oireachtas Brief 19 reported on the new reforming procedures introduced in the Dail on 14th September.  This initiative takes a different form, but also opens fresh possibilities for citizens and their voluntary and community organizations to engage with the political process in general and senators in particular.  How far it will progress is difficult to assess at this stage and senators are well aware of government proposals to extinguish the Seanad before the next general election by a constitutional amendment.