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Saturday, 16 May 2015

Seanad Reform 2015

Working Group on Seanad Reform

The Taoiseach has established a Working Group on Seanad Reform. 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.

Members of the Working Group: The Group is chaired by
Dr. Maurice Manning (Chancellor of the National University of Ireland and former Senator)
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)
Dr. Elaine Byrne (commentator and author on public policy)

The Working Group on Seanad Reform held its first meeting 17th December 2014

Working Group on Seanad Reform - Consultation Process

Unfortunately the consultation was announced just before christmas so it was exteneded
Working Group on Seanad Reform Consultation Process - extension of closing date for submissions MerrionStreet
Working group on Seanad Reform
Submissions received by the Working Group on Seanad Reform

Working group on Seanad Reform Report

I dont think they mentioned having the election the same day as the dail election , the biggest disappointment in the taoiseach's seanad reform working group report

draft Bill produced by the Working Group


Dail 31 Reform Timleine
Seanad Electoral Reform Bill 2013 John Crown 01/03/2013
Seanad Bill 2013 Senator Katherine Zappone; and Senator Feargal Quinn; and Senator Mary Ann O'Brien 09/05/2013
Seanad (No. 2) Bill 2013 [PMB] Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly and Deputy Noel Grealish and Deputy Finian McGrath and Deputy Mattie McGrath and Deputy Shane Ross 28/05/2013
Referendum Failed 04/10/2013
A Bill to Reform the Seanad Senator Katherine Zappone 07/10/2013
Seanad Reform: Statements 23/10/2013
Seanad Reform Bill 2014 Deputy Micheál Martin 09/05/2013
Seanad Reform: Motion Katherine Zappone 29/01/2014
Political Reform: Motion David Norris 12/02/2014
Seanad Reform 100 Days Since The People Decided Democracy-Matters 21/02/2014
Report Of The Working Group On Seanad Reform
revised seanad reform proposals



University Franchise Extension

General Scheme of the Seanad Electoral (University Members) (Amendment) Bill 2014

At the 2011 Seanad elections there were some 151,000 voters on the combined registers for the two university constituencies.
It is estimated that up to 800,000 people would be entitled to register under the planned reforms.
so extra 650k

o a single six-member constituency to replace the present two university constituencies;
o an extension of the franchise to include graduates from third level educational institutions that heretofore did not form part of the university constituencies of Seanad Éireann;
o the franchise to apply to the holders of a major award validated by an awards body in the State and recognised through the National Framework of Qualifications to be at least ordinary bachelor degree level;
o other technical provisions for the organisation of elections – this includes the creation of a register of electors, the appointment of a returning officer and arrangements for taking the poll and counting the votes;
o alternative arrangements for the nomination of candidates to bring them more into line with reforms made in other electoral codes;
o new provisions for the filling of casual vacancies based on the ‘replacement candidates list’ system that operates for European Parliament elections in Ireland.

Public Consultations - Submissions

some of the submission from the likes of Crown and Quinn talk about reform outside the scope of this bill, but the other big issue that some of the submittors have a problem with is the changing of the consituteuncies of 3 seats for TCD and 3 for NUI to 1 national constituency for all 6 seats

TCD won't like this, obviously there would be huge imbalance to have NUI constituency and a TCD only constituency


Politics.ie Thread

Ratio of Votes and Seats Change
Animated Votes vs Seats Treemap showing change of ratio.





Report Of The Working Group On Seanad Reform Page 30





One person one vote suggests the votes are of equal weight but in the reform proposals they are not.

VotersVotesSeatsVotes PCSeats PCCitizen Vote:Seat Ratio
Taoiseach1110.00003115998659%18%901294.5334
Politicians1167130.03636370435%22%912.7388746
electorate~24580763076.59361519%50%1
Graduates~750000623.36998994%10%0.6554869333


One citizen, one vote - time to reform the Seanad elite Dr Elaine Byrne Independent.ie

Seanad Sankey
Seanad Bubble Chart

Nominating Bodies
Senator Katherine Zappone: One of the stumbling blocks we found is many bodies which want to register may not be considered charities because they are civil rights organisations.
Report of the Working Group on Seanad Reform 2015: Statements
Registering for Nominating body meeting 2013


new or removed nomination bodies for Seanad candidates since 2011
5 removed 11 added

the Association of County and City and
Association of Municipal Authorities of Ireland which were merged into the Association of Irish Local Government but it hasn't been added...?

S.I. No. 91/1954 - Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) (Prescribed Forms) Regulations, 1954.
8 (2) (b) a body shall not be eligible to be registered in the register in respect of any particular panel unless either—
(I) (i) its objects primarily relate to or are connected with the interests and services mentioned in subsection 10 of Section 7 of Article 18 of the Constitution in respect of that particular panel, and
(ii) its activities are concerned mainly with such interests and services, or
(II) its members are representative of persons who have knowledge and practical experience of such interests and services ;
so what they need to do is form civil rights workers association and then have that body apply?

Senators Nominated by Nominating Bodies

Panels of Candidates
Brian Ó'DomhnaillFianna FailThe Dairy Executives' Association
Catherine NooneFine GaelIrish Country Houses and Restaurants Association;The Construction Industry Federation
Colm BurkeFine GaelAssociation of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys, National Housebuilding Guarantee Company Limited;Nursing Homes Ireland
Denis LandyLabourAssociation of Municipal Authorities of Ireland.
Denis O'DonovanFianna FailIrish Greyhound Owners and Breeders Federation.
Imelda HenryFine GaelVintners’ Federation of Ireland Limited
Jim WalshFianna FailIrish Grain and Feed Association
Labhrás Ó'MurchúFianna FailComhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann
Marc MacSharryFianna FailWholesale Produce Ireland;The Chambers of Commerce of Ireland;
The Insurance Institute of Ireland;Institute of Bankers in Ireland
Marie MoloneyLabourIrish Congress of Trade Unions
Mark DalyFianna FailIrish Deaf Society — National Association of the Deaf;Enable Ireland Disability Services Limited;Irish Kidney Association.
Martin ConwayFine GaelPeople with Disabilities in Ireland Ltd.
Mary WhiteFianna FailIrish Exporters Association Limited.
Maurice CumminsFine GaelThe Irish Conference of Professional and Service Associations.
Michael MullinsFine GaelThe Irish Vocational Education Association.
Ned O'SullivanFianna FailThe Irish Conference of Professional and Service Associations;Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
Paddy BurkeFine GaelIrish Co-operative Organisation Society Limited.
Paschal MooneyFianna FailNational Association of Regional Game Councils.
Pat O'NeillFine GaelNational Association of Regional Game Councils.
Paul BradfordFine GaelThe Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association.
Paul CoghlanFine GaelRGDATA — Retail, Grocery, Dairy and Allied Trades Association
Terry BrennanFine GaelIrish Congress of Trade Unions.
Terry LeydenFianna FailThe Irish Conference of Professional and Service Associations.
Senators Nominated by Nominating Bodies and bodies previously nominated by.
Senators Nominated by Nominating Bodies Panels Panels previously nominated to.

Nomination Process
Senator Terry Leyden describes process of being nominated by ICPSA to Seanad Submissions 2003 pg 7 and continueing dialogue and representation and regular meetings with councillors

On the 4th June 2002, a meeting was held in The Irish Bank Officials Association Headquarters, St Stephen’s Green. I was nominated by the Association. From fourteen applications of nomination, seven were nominated. Those nominated were as follows:

Senator Dan Kiely M.C.C.,
Senator Teresa Ridge M.C.C.,
Cllr Terry Leyden,
Ms Geraldine Feeney,
Mr Sean Lyons,
Cllr Maurice Cummins,
Cllr Gary Keegan

Of the seven nominated, the following were duly elected: Ms Geraldine Feeney, Cllr Terry Leyden, Cllr Maurice Cummins.



Seanad Exhibit
Senators Exhibit Blogpost on how I made it.


Spreadsheet



Oireachtas Research put out an info graphic on the seanad electoral process.

Seanad Éireann Electoral Process Infographic
How Seanad is elected

The graphic illustrates how Seanad Éireann is elected, with a particular focus on the vocational panel elections, and highlights the Constitutional and legislative provisions governing the electoral process.
Seanad Éireann Electoral Process L&RS Note


Links
Seanad nominating bodies thread on Politics.ie.


Submission to 2003 Review

Seanad Nominting Bodies 2015 Register of Nominating Bodies Archive
Electoral Roll
Seanad General Election List of Candidates
Seanad Count

Councillors
David Norris:Private Members Motion on Seanad Reform - 11th March 2009
A special committee of Seanad Éireann was set up to look into the situation of the renditions at Shannon Airport. This was scuppered because local councillors down in County Clare put the squeeze on the Government parties and the committee was abolished. This shows a distortion of the power through local parish pump politics and that is the main reason I object to the motion.

Seanad Reform Timeline

dail 29 Report on Seanad Reform 2004
dail 30 All-Party Seanad Reform Group 01/09/2008
dail 30 Seanad Reform: Motion Joe O'Toole 11/03/2009
dail 30 Seanad Reform: Motion David Norris 20/01/2010
dail 30 Seanad Reform: Motion Joe O'Toole 03/11/2010
dail 31 Seanad Reform: Motion Katherine Zappone 15/06/2011
dail 31 Seanad Electoral Reform Bill 2013 John Crown 01/03/2013
dail 31 Seanad, Bill 2013 Senator Katherine Zappone; and Senator Feargal Quinn; and Senator Mary Ann O'Brien 09/05/2013
dail 31 Seanad (No. 2) Bill 2013 [PMB] Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly and Deputy Noel Grealish and Deputy Finian McGrath and Deputy Mattie McGrath and Deputy Shane Ross 28/05/2013
dail 31 Abolishment bill
dail 31 Referendum Failed 04/10/2013
dail 31 A Bill to Reform the Seanad 07/10/2013
dail 31 Seanad Reform: Statements 23/10/2013
dail 31 Seanad Reform Bill 2014 Deputy Micheál Martin 09/05/2013
dail 31 Seanad Reform: Motion Katherine Zappone 29/01/2014
dail 31 Political Reform: Motion David Norris 12/02/2014
dail 31 100 days 21/02/2014
dail 31 Seanad Reform: Motion SF/Adams 16/10/2014

Enda Kenny's Seanad flip flop timeline



write more about
submission
nominating bodies
councillors influence/ councillors power david norris

need more information on how they discuss with councillors and expert bodies

http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/senators-got-leg-up-before-late-late-showdown-88499.html
http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates%20authoring/debateswebpack.nsf/takes/seanad2013062700021?opendocument

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Presidential Candidate Age Referendum

Im a yes voter, for equality on this position, its that simple, possible pension costs can be limited and are not a reason to vote no, disappointment with the choice of referendums is not a reason to vote no, not wanting a young president is not a reason to prevent others from making that choice.

Referendum Choice

Only two proposals for constitution referendums Jan 26, 2015 Irish Times Harry McGee

Only two of 18 recommendations for constitutional change made by the Convention on the Constitution are to be put to referendum.

Who chose the second referendum, the Taoiseach did, not the convention. Kenny did not want another controversial referendum along side the Marriage Equality Referendum, Fine Gael promised in its manifesto (pg 62) a constitution day where maybe even 3 or 4 referendums would be held on the same day, you could have had mutiple referendums on presidentials issues on the same day. This would have reduced the criticism of this amendment. The Labour manifesto promised a rewritten constitution. They see political reform as luxury, compared to fixing the economy, they didn't spend department man hours on it sooner, they promsied a constitution day,so picked one with little associated work. The Marriage Euqality referendum was also discussed and recommended at the Constitutional Convention but it would have happened anyway.

Referendum Media


Constitutional Convention

How did the issue of president age come up, who added the question to the ballot, Tom Arnold, convention chair. The First Report of the Convention on the Constitution

It wasn't part of original terms of reference. at bottom of report.

Was it discussed in video's on expert advice? Constitutional Convention Video Archive

4.Reducing the Presidential term of office to five years and aligning it with the local and European elections.

4.2 Convention discussion on the reduction and alignment of the Presidential Term

Other themes that were raised included; whether to reduce the age of candidacy.


The first convention report on presidential term length and voting age includes questions on presidential candidate age. page 7
Reduce the age of candidacy for presidential elections 50 yes 47 no 3 don't know
Other themes that were raised included
and like in the previous session, whether to reduce the age of candidacy

Previous Constitutional Reviews

The Report of the Constitution Review Group (May 1996)
The majority of members favours no change, or only a minor
reduction, in the age limit

commented as follows on this section:
There is an apparent discrepancy between the English
and Irish versions. The Irish version has ‘ag a bhfuil
cúig bliana tríochad slán’ (that is, has completed thirty-
five years), whereas the English version is ‘who has
reached his thirty-fifth year of age’, which could mean
has entered rather than completed that year.
This discrepancy should be removed by substituting the word
‘completed’ for ‘reached’ in the English version.


The First Progress Report of the All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution (April 1997) Recommendation reduce to 18.
following this,
recommends (on p. 89) substituting the word ‘completed’
for ‘reached’ in the English text. The Twentieth Amendment
of the Constitution Bill, 1999, which proposed to lower
the age-limit for candidates for the Presidency, dealt with
the noted inconsistency by proposing to substitute ‘the
age of eighteen years’ for ‘his thirty-fifth year of age’ – i.e.
rather than substituting ‘his eighteenth year of age’

Eamon Gilmore introduced a private members bill to reduce the age of candidacy for Irish President Dail in 1999
Twentieth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1999 [PMB]
Catherine Murphy introduced private member bill to reduce age of candidacy for president among other measures in 2011. Thirty-First Amendment of the Constitution (The President) Bill 2011 Seem to be no mention of age from the government rep during the debate.

Gender Neutral
The amendment proposes to mark the sub-article gender neutral.

Every citizen who has reached his thirty-fifth year of age is eligible for election to the office of President.
Every citizen who has reached the age of twenty-one years is eligible for election to the office of President.

English Irish discrepency

There is a issue in the contradiction between the English version saying the candidate needs to be 35 and the Irish version saying the candidate needs to be 34, the Irish version of law takes precedence.
Richard Humphreys Labour's Councillors and legal advisor mentioned it, Richard Humphreys Submission.
Derek Keating TD raised it in his submission research by Seery Kearney, Mary, Parliamentary Assistant
Derek Keating TD Submission to Constitution convention
Eligibility to become President of Ireland and the election of the President

To be eligible as a candidate for the Presidency, the candidate must be an Irish citizen of 35 years or more.1 There is a conflict between the English and Irish texts of the Constitution with regard to the eligibility age, the English text states that the candidate must be at least 35 years, and the Irish text states that the candidate must have completed his/her 35th year, meaning they must be 36 years of age. Article 25.5.4 provides that the Irish text prevails in an interpretation of the constitution; therefore, the age is 36 years. While this has, thus far, never arisen as an issue, it is a matter which requires amendment at the opportune time.

Bunreacht na hEireann - Study of the Irish Text
pg 139
Divergences between the official texts
1 While the English text requires a Presidential candidate
to have ‘reached his thirty-fifth year of age’, which it
has been noted the candidate would do on his thirty-
fourth birthday, the Irish text requires him to have
completed thirty five years.

Cost

Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said having two referendums at the same time would cost 13% more.
Referendum Expenditure 11 February 2015

Returning Officer Costs for taking the poll and counting of votes€10.2m
Postal Costs (primarily delivery of Polling Cards)€1.4m
Referendum Commission Costs€2.4m
Other Costs (including printing)€0.4m

If we compare cost for singualar Ref in 2012 and then two Ref on the same day in 2013.
Consultation Paper on the Establishment of an Electoral Commission in Ireland table 9 page 29
Expenses / Children-2012 / Seanad Abolition and Court of Appeal-2013
Total / €11,135,735 / €11,893,174

plus around 2 million referendum commission costs page table 7, 27

7% difference?

cost for 2 is ~€13m

Bill

21st January 2015 Minister Kelly announces Government Agreement on the Amendment of the Constitution (Age of Eligibility for Election to the Office of President) Bill 2015 Minister Kelly announces Government Agreement on the Amendment of the Constitution (Age of Eligibility for Election to the Office of President) Bill 2015

22/01/2015 Thirty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution (Age of Eligibility for Election to the Office of President) Bill 2015
25/03/2015 Statement for Information of Voters: Motion
25/03/2015 Second Stage Charlie McConague: it was the unfufilled grand promise of a Constitution day thats upsetting people more so then that this topic was chosen
25/03/2015 Second Stage (Resumed) olivia mitchell says, regarding age, the difference between president and td is that no single td can make such great changes on his own, while the president can...
25/03/2015 Committee and Remaining Stages AAA/SP proposed amendments for 18 to be age,for 5k signatures for nomination, alter oath, remove god, alter voter restriction
31/03/2015 Second Stage all ruled out of order apart from age 18 that was voted down
01/04/2015 Committee and Remaining Stages

Thirty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution (Age of Eligibility for Election to the Office of President) Bill 2015

The Schedule of the Bill — Part 1 provides for the amendment of the Irish text of Article 12.4.1° of the Constitution to provide that every citizen who has reached the age of twenty-one years is eligible
for election to the office of President.

The Schedule of the Bill — Part 2 provides for the amendment of the English text of Article 12.4.1° of the Constitution to provide that every citizen who has reached the age of twenty-one years is eligible for election to the office of President. The English text is based on the text of Article 16.1.1° of the Constitution, which provides that every citizen ‘who has reached the age of twenty-one years. . .’ is eligible for membership of Dáil Éireann. The approach taken in the Constitution Amendment Bill addresses a potential conflict between the Irish and English text of Article 12.4.1° as it currently stands — while the Irish text requires a presidential candidate to have completed thirty-five years of age, the English text requires the candidate only to have ‘reached his [or her] thirty-fifth year of age’, which one would do on one’s thirty-fourth birthday. Both the Irish and English texts of the Bill are aligned and provide that every citizen who has reached the age of twenty-one years is eligible for election to the office of President.


Statement for Information of Voters: Motion
This is what appears on the back of the voting card.

The only real arguement the gov gives.

2015-03-25 Ann Phelan Minister of State with responsibility for rural economic development and rural transport at the Departments of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Transport, Tourism and Sport. (Carlow-Kilkenny, Labour)
I am satisfied that the Government's approach in linking the age of eligibility requirement to that which applies to the case of the Dáil and the European Parliament, is the logical and, therefore, the appropriate approach.


Paudie Coffey Government Chief Whip (Waterford, Fine Gael) 2015-03-31
I have also noted commentary in the media and elsewhere that the referendum proposal in the Bill is, in some way, not as significant as some of the other proposals for constitutional reform that have emerged from the Constitutional Convention. I do not accept that view. Article 12 of the Constitution provides that the President shall "take precedence over all the other persons in the State" and "shall exercise and perform the powers and functions conferred on the President by this Constitution and by law". Given this position in the Constitution, the proposal to reduce the age at which a citizen is eligible for election to the Of



Referendum Commision
Presidential Age
13/04/2015 13:00:00 Judge Kevin Cross, Head of the Referendum Commission, on the launch of their awareness campaign for the upcoming referenda
referendum-commission RTE news
RefCom leaflet is very brief.

The Age of Presidential Candidates Referendum
In this referendum, you may vote
Yes or No to the proposal to reduce the age at which candidates are eligible for election to the office of President from 35 to 21.
The proposal is contained in the Thirty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution (Age of Eligibility for Election to the Office of President) Bill 2015


The current Article 12.4.1° of the Constitution states:
Every citizen who has reached his thirty-fifth year of age is eligible for election to the office of President.
It is proposed to replace this with:
Every citizen who has reached the age of twenty-one years is eligible for election to the office of President.

Cost of Pension
Baby presidents would get 125k a year for life Sunday Independent.

Interesting point but the government can simply limit the pension to to retirement age. Perhaps parties could make that point.

Government already reduced the president's pay by 23% under financial emergency measures in the public interest amendment bill 2011 minister-brendan-howlin-second-stage-speech
Financial emergency measures in the public interest amendment Act 2011

Political Reform

How many no voters were there for #presref in Labour that they chose not to take a position?
I know the Labour Pary doesn't enforce party line on referendums but doesn't lack of active effort by TDs not undermine political reform.
I know referendums are different and theres no whip,but Labour cabinet members proposed it you think TD would make an effort one way or the other.
Labour will not take position on presidential age referendum15/04/2015 Irish Times Mary Minihan

No Campaigns

Mike McKillen/Dick Spicer CITIZENS SEPARATE CHURCH AND STATE
Olivia Mitchell FG TD
Gerard Howlin Columnist Irish Examiner professional contrarian
Colum Kenny Columnist Irish Independent,DCU media Prof professional contrarian
Ian Robertson Prof of Psychology TCD,
Maeve Dineen Columnist & comms specialist
Professor Ian Robertson TCD: 21 year olds don't have the neural connections to be President Debate on Marian Finuncane Radio Show .mp3 at 4 min

A number of No campaigners are professional contrarians with Column Kenny not arguing on the issue.

No: Why we should vote against lowering the age of candidates eligible to become President
Referendum on president mocks real needs of young

First radio debate on this referendum Olivia Mitchell FG No vs Brian Stanly SF yes
Newstalk Breakfast 17th_April_2015

Olivia Mitchell said not calling for a no vote, won't be voting yes, say you act alone as president, not so with Taoiseach who needs TDs votes. As she did during the Dail debate.

Yes Campaign
Mairead Healy Future Voices
Law Society
Youthwork Ireland Michael McLaughlin
USILaura Harmon
Fine Gael Michael Noonan, Leo?
"It's peculiar that you can be President if you are 35 and you can't if you're 34, that would have excluded people like Michael Collins and The Lord himself.
Presidential Age limits would have excluded Michael Collins from the Aras, says Noonan Independent 05/05/2015
Alan Kelly said he would publically advocate for a yes if he was raised with him while canvassing on the Marriage Equality referendum.

Growing criticism over the lack of debate on the age of presidential candidates referendum. RTE News 5th May 2015


Labour are taking no position, but referendums are different and strict enforcement of party line is not always applied. Joanna Tuffy TD is a no

Popstars are popstars not politician no need to mention them.

Constitution


25/05/1937 Draft of the 13th Article of the constitution Bunreacht na hEireann (Dréacht)—Coiste (ath-thogaint).

Links
Constitution of Ireland Wikpedia.

List_of_presidential_qualifications_by_country

Age of candidacy

Thirty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution Age of Eligibility for Election_to_the_Office of President Bill 2015

...
not voting for 21 year old president