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Don't reform the Seanad, scrap it

THE great humorist Myles na Gopaleen, aka Flann O'Brien, was in real life a civil servant who worked in the old Department of Local Government. Asked back in the 1950s to describe his ideal system of government for Ireland, he suggested "two clerical officers in Whitehall". Perhaps Myles had an unhappy time in the day job, but his suggestion has survived as the cynic's default option. Myles, I imagine, would vote Yes in the referendum to abolish the Seanad, whenever it comes along.

The depth of the current crisis has provoked many commentators to call for fundamental reform in our political and administrative structures, including demands for a new Constitution and a new Republic. It is fashionable to denounce the political parties as a bunch of thoughtless careerists, but there has been quite an amount of self-examination going on in the political class.

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