BaileNuachtPreaseisúntaí an Rialtais

Working group on Seanad Reform


The Working Group on Seanad Reform publishes its Report today.


The Working Group saw as its principal objective the restructuring and reforming of Seanad Éireann to bring it into line with international best practice for Second Houses of Parliament in the 21st Century. 


The Report contains many radical recommendations and the Working Group believe its Report gives added value to the Seanad, facilitates the participation of all citizens in Seanad elections, is inclusive of the Diaspora and respects the Good Friday agreement. 

The Report also includes timelines and processes for the implementation of its recommendations,

A copy of the Report can be accessed here.

Note for Editors

The Taoiseach established a Working Group on Seanad Reform in December 2014. The principal focus of the working group was on possible reforms of the Seanad Electoral system within the existing constitutional parameters.  The Working Group also explored ways of reforming Seanad Éireann generally and the manner in which it carries out its business.  The Group examined these issues also within existing Constitutional parameters.


The Working Group examined submissions and proposals for reform which have already been made and looked 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 saw as relevant.

The group also sought submissions and suggestions from interested parties and took into consideration the eleven official reports since 1937 and the very many submissions made during the Seanad referendum process in 2013.

Members of the Working Group: The Group was chaired by Dr. Maurice Manning (Chancellor of the National University of Ireland and former Senator) and the members were 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).