In many ways, the Seanad is more representative of us as a country than the Dáil.
I recently received two jarring reminders of my inferior status as a citizen of this Republic. The first was driving through Foxrock in Dublin and seeing a poster for a Seanad candidate.
That's right: a poster for a candidate running in an election that the great majority of us can not vote in, the sort of thing black voters used to see in Rhodesia or pre-Mandela South Africa.
There's an election on, but not for you people. Carry on about your business.
I was driving too fast (but not too fast, your honour) to see who the candidate was and just caught the mention of the Seanad election. Perhaps it was for Marie Antoinette running on a Pro-Cake ticket, or maybe a candidate of the Downton Know-Your-Place Party.
I can't be sure.
I just know I'm not good enough to have a vote for the Seanad.
Well, not legally.
As it happens, I have a Seanad ballot paper right in front of me here as I write this column, addressed to a former occupant of the house I live in. It would be illegal to vote, of course, but worth noting that the actual legally entitled Seanad elector didn't bother to re-register their vote, whereas, of course, I'd actually like to be a Seanad elector.
Cue pencil hovering over ballot paper. Hmmm.
I campaigned in 2013 to abolish the Seanad. Not because I'm against an upper house (I'm not), but because I was so insulted by people who had blocked every single one of the dozen or so attempts to reform the Seanad suddenly becoming loud reformers when their really excellent paid-to-be-a-member-and-the-grub-is-excellent private club was threatened.
It was like a surreal electoral version of 'Scooby Doo', where the Seanad Reform Phantom was chased up and down seemingly endless corridors before being finally caught the day after the referendum and unmasked to be the same old faker who had prevented change since 1937.
"Why, you meddling kids should just mind your own business and keep paying taxes to fund the lifestyle to which we have become accustomed! Especially when going through American airports and booking into American hotels where they think we're real senators! Bah!"
I campaigned for abolition because I believed that political support to push through reform would evaporate, like Scooby Doo eating a massive sandwich, as soon as the proposal was defeated.
I have yet to be proven wrong.
As it happens, the irony is that the Seanad in its current form is actually pretty representative not so much of the demographics of the country as the Irish psyche.
It's the political equivalent of that greatest of 'Father Ted' quotes, "that money was just resting in my account". Like the quote, the defence of our upper house seems to involve money (ours going to a privileged elite), excuses about a scandal, and pretty ludicrous excuses at that.
"That Seanad reform bill was just resting on the floor of the house."
It's representative of Ireland in a certain way, in that it is undemocratic yet with a democratic mandate given to it by the electorate in the referendum, a tip of the hat to a Flann O'Brien/Schrodinger-like invention if there ever was one.
It's electoral system is equally dodgy. Giving university graduates special political rights over the rest of us is just weird. Yes, I know it was to ensure Protestant representation, but there's more elected Protestants in the Dáil now than the Seanad.
As for senators elected by councillors, what on Earth is the point of that?
Is there any evidence that local government and regional policy has benefited by letting county councillors elect most of the upper house?
All it has really done is nearly give sitting senators a hernia as they charge for the door, falling over themselves to buy drink and dinner for any county councillor who happens to wander into Leinster House.
That's before you get to that masterly example of Irish pols designing an entire contraption to suit themselves, the so-called "inside/outside" nomination system.
I won't give both you and myself a nosebleed by trying to explain the arcane nature of Seanad election counts (which use fractions - yes, fractions) but will point out two simple facts.
One: the Seanad is elected by roughly the same single transferable vote (STV) system that we use to elect TDs to the Dáil.
Two: if you are nominated by members of the Oireachtas, you can potentially take the last seat despite having fewer votes than the other guy.
In short, a good old-fashioned stitch-up to reserve seats for ex-TDs. It's magnificent in its bare-faced cheek.
How is it constitutional to actually ignore the result that the constitutionally mandated STV system gives?
I have no idea, but to show you how outrageous it is, consider this: it's the equivalent of Fine Gael passing a law before the last election to say that the last seat in every Dáil constituency must go to the last remaining sitting TD regardless of how many (or few) votes they got.
By Seanad defender logic, that would be perfectly legal.
And so, back to my Seanad ballot paper.
Will I cast this illicit vote?
Probably not, although it does strike me that by not voting, I'm actually showing the upper house far more respect than it shows me, and indeed, most Irish voters.