Thursday 18 January 2018

First Senate led way and showed how it could be done

The original second chamber was far removed from today's marionette show, writes Ulick O'Connor

SO ENDA'S to end it. The Seanad is to go. That ghastly gig we see on RTE at the end of the evening will be no more.

Seanad Eireann as we know it was the brainchild of Eamon de Valera. In 1936 he closed the First Senate, which was inaugurated in December 1922. Dev said arrogantly, "I have never been able to get in anything I have read or listened to, a suggestion that would satisfy that it is worthwhile spending money on the second chamber."

He reversed himself two years later by introducing his own self-made Senate. But it proved an over-complicated and impractical structure which degenerated into the marionette show that late-night viewers would see broadcast on the box.

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