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Establishment of a Working Group on Seanad Reform


Following the announcement in the Dáil on 11 November last, the Taoiseach has now established a Working Group on Seanad Reform.

The Group will be chaired by Dr. Maurice Manning (Chancellor of the National University of Ireland and former Senator) and the members will be Mary O'Rourke (former Minister and Senator), Pat Magner (former Senator), Dr. Maurice Hayes (former Senator, former Northern Ireland Ombudsman and former Chairman of the National Forum on Europe), Joe O’Toole (former Senator), Tom Arnold (former Chairman of the Constitutional Convention), Dr. Mary C Murphy (lecturer in politics in UCC) and Dr. Elaine Byrne (commentator and author on public policy).

The principal focus of the working group will be on possible reforms of the Seanad Electoral system within the existing constitutional parameters.

The Working Group will also explore ways of reforming Seanad Éireann generally and the manner in which it carries out its business.

The Group will examine these issues also within existing Constitutional parameters.

The Working Group will examine submissions and proposals for reform which have already been made and will also look at:

• the role of a reformed Seanad within the political process;
• the powers and functions of a reformed Seanad; and
• any such matter as the working party sees as relevant.

The working group will be entitled to receive new proposals or presentations on these matters at its discretion.

The Group has been asked to report back to Government not later than the end of March 2015.

The Taoiseach has thanked all those involved for their willingness to participate.