John Paul McCarthy: Seanad plays peripheral role in democracy
Why waste our breath on referendum, while mandarins of State remain in place?
Readers may remember a stirring passage from Mr Justice Hogan's opinion in Doherty v Referendum Commission during the fiscal treaty referendum.
"The Constitution ... places considerable emphasis on individual civic responsibility of each citizen," the judge explained, and "the referendum process reflects this by urging the citizenry to engage in robust political debate so that the forces of deliberation will prevail over the arbitrary and irrational so that, in this civic democracy, reasoned argument would prevail in this triumph of discourse."
Needless to say, the debate about the looming referendum on the abolition of the Seanad has not lived up to this lofty judicial standard.