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No downside to abolishing Seanad

Calling on senators to "do the right thing" (Irish Independent, January 4) will fall on deaf ears; the gravy train is very hard to alight from.

You quoted senator Joe O'Toole, who, while agreeing that the place was "undemocratic, unrepresentative, and indefensible", managed to cast a slur on those seeking its dissolution, claiming that they were only about "cutting back on political accountability". Double-speak at its finest.

The fact is that the Seanad is not only a dysfunctional mess, as the senator concedes, but has become a danger to democracy as a direct result of political parties abusing it by using it either as a reward for friends, a shelter for politicians that the electorate rejected at the ballot box or the positioning of an ally into the heart of government.

While the abuse of power to make appointments was a common feature of the politics of the past 12 years, in most cases such appointments, while useless as far the country was concerned, were nonetheless benign.

Abolishing the Seanad should have no negative implications for the creation of open, accountable governance. On the contrary, it would see a situation in which all those who hold positions in the national parliament would be there by virtue of a mandate from the people.

Jim O'Sullivan
Rathedmond, Sligo

Irish Independent