| 7.7°C Dublin

Dail and Seanad not serving us well

AS a result of recent newspaper articles, I would like to clarify my views in relation to the professional backgrounds of our public representatives.

I fully accept that it is the democratic right of the people to elect whoever they want, including bankers, developers and people from all other professions.

However, for us to have a properly balanced representative democracy we need our TDs and senators to roughly reflect our society.

This is not possible if the Oireachtas is controlled by a small number of political parties who only select candidates from a small number of professions.

When I was first elected to the Seanad just over a year ago, I was surprised to discover that I was the only parliamentarian with a background in business and systems analysis.

I have found the systems employed by the Oireachtas to be less than ideal and I do not believe that our parliament is serving the people of Ireland particularly well as a result.

I have also found that the majority of Oireachtas members come from just three professions, law, education and retail (mainly publicans).

While these are all well-established and well-respected professions, I do not feel it serves the people of Ireland well that any profession should be grossly over-represented in the Dail as it leads to a lack of political balance.

Ireland's communications and information technology industry is second to none, yet our public administration systems lag well behind what is possible.

A large part of the problem is that those at the top don't understand what is possible.

Our political system and public service both need a radical overhaul but they will not get that if we carry on doing things precisely the same way we always have.

Senator Niall O Brolchain,

Salthill, Galway