Calling time on costly institution
Sir -- The upcoming Seanad elections represent an affront to democracy and an unnecessary expense to the State coffers at a time when the Irish people are facing severe austerity. The panel system onto which candidates are voted as well as its limited electorate mean that this body which purports to be an Upper House renders the Seanad totally undemocratic. In addition, the fact the Seanad has a government majority due to the Taoiseach's nominees further renders it obsolete.
A unicameral Oireachtas with its committee system as well as a proactive President in the Aras would provide a far more cost-effective legislature with its own in-built checks-and-balances functions. A referendum should be held as soon as is practicable to call time on this defunct and costly institution.