Thursday 27 April 2017

Government faces trickier time in Seanad than Dail

An upper house with plenty of Independents poses a challenge to the minority Government

They're back: Members of the Seanad at Leinster House last week Photo: Tom Burke
They're back: Members of the Seanad at Leinster House last week Photo: Tom Burke

Eoin O'Malley

The new Seanad met for the first time this week. It was over four months since it last sat, so they must have had a lot of catching up to do. It was a colourful occasion.

The senators were treated to a long speech from the Father of the House, David Norris, who took the chair and, it seems, was reluctant to let it go. He spoke at length on the Seanad's achievements and exhorted the new senators to push for Seanad reform (except, of course, in his own beloved university's constituency). The occasion was self-congratulatory and introspective.

The only real business was to choose a new cathaoirleach, Denis O'Donovan, and once that was done - following some more congratulations - it adjourned. After two and a half hours of work, it took a week off. To be fair, some wanted to do more business, but because of some dubious constitutional interpretation, it was ruled out of order.

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