Posted by Séin Ó Muineacháin
This is a copy of an article I wrote for the journal Public Affairs Ireland when Enda Kenny first floated the idea of Seanad abolition. It deals with the political and constitutional implications of such a move.
The debate on the necessity of a second house of the Oireachtas has been reawakened in Ireland in recent weeks. This has focused the public mind on what the consequences of such a move would be. The Irish constitutional lawyer, Gerard Hogan is on record as saying “to use a dental analogy, to abolish the Seanad would not be a constitutional filling and more a full root canal treatment with a few extractions”. The abolition of the Seanad would have a number of ramifications for the Irish legislative system, and would require significant amendments to articles in the Constitution that do not necessarily just involve the working and composition of the Seanad, but also those that concern its relationship with other institutions of the state, such as the Dáil, the President and so on.