Tuesday 12 December 2017

Now put real power in Seanad's hands

David Norris: was one of those who fought for the Senate; but reform is now the big challenge
David Norris: was one of those who fought for the Senate; but reform is now the big challenge

* The Irish people, recognising the Seanad's balancing function in the legislative process, have wisely chosen to keep it. However, the referendum's results show that a substantial fraction of the population would have it abolished.

It seems that, for them, the Seanad is irrelevant because it performs no useful function, or maybe because that performance has not been well communicated. Whatever happened in the past with the Seanad, it is possible for it to become a more modern and relevant institution that can easily be seen as vital to the perennity of Ireland.

Mankind has become a planetary force, able to unfavourably change its climate, acidify and impoverish its oceans, exterminate countless species, and deplete its best forest, fresh water, arable land, and mineral resources. This power has been acquired without a concomitant increase in wisdom.

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