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Paddy Burke elected head of Seanad

Fine Gael’s Paddy Burke has been unanimously elected as Cathaoirleach of the 24th Seanad this afternoon.

Mr Burke, a long-time political ally of Taoiseach Enda Kenny, could be the last holder of the office, as the Government is committed to holding a referendum on the abolition of the Seanad.

Mr Kenny named his 11 nominees to the Upper House, completing the 60-member second chamber three weeks after the rest of the seats were filled.

Among his nominees were a large number of non-party figures, including the President's husband, Dr Martin McAleese, former athlete Eamonn Coghlan, children's rights activist Jillian van Turnhout and Dr Katherine Zappone, a member of the Human Rights Commission.