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Sunday 21 September 2014

Seanad Bye-Election 10th October 2014

Updates below

An order has been made by the Minister for Environment and Local Government Alan Kelly for a Seanad Bye-Election will be held on Friday 10th October 2014 News - Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government to replace Deirde Clune MEP elected to the European Parliament in May.

Published on Friday 5th September 2014
Seanad Bye-Election to be held Friday 10 October 2014

Local Government Minister Alan Kelly announced that he has made an order directing that a bye-election be held to fill the vacancy in the Seanad caused by the election to the European Parliament of Senator Deirdre Clune.
Senator Clune was elected from the Oireachtas Sub-Panel of the Cultural and Educational Panel at the Seanad General Election in April 2011.
The last day for receiving nominations at the bye-election will be Thursday 18 September 2014 at 12 noon. The Seanad Returning Officer will sit for the ruling on nominations on Monday 22 September 2014. Ballot papers will be issued on Friday 26 September 2014 and the poll will close at 11 p.m. on Friday 10 October 2014.
The electorate at the bye-election will be the members of Dáil Eireann and Seanad Éireann.
Seanad Bye-Election to be held Friday 10 October 2014 « MerrionStreet.ie Irish Government News Service

Official Seanad bye-election order document

Only Oireachtas (Irish parliament) members can vote in Seanad Bye-elections and only Oireachtas members can nominate as this is Oireachtas panel position.

We all know that the Seanad is so often used by parties to give profile to a Dail election candidate and that Fine Gael are going to pick somebody and use the government majority to vote them through and Labour will support them on this.

The Indo speculated a while ago on who might be picked Kenny will move to fill Seanad seat as autumn by-elections loom - Independent.ie

A Challenger
Gerard Craughwell a teacher of IT at Further Education and former president of the Teachers Union of Ireland TUI and thejournal.ie says a former Fine Gael supporter.

This man wants to stop the ‘silly charade’ and run for the Seanad.

TUI could only endorse me as they cannot nominate for a Oireachtas sub-panel by-election endorsement letter from the TUI.

Seand bye-election candidates require 9 nominators rather then the usual 4 for Seanad general elections. How the Seanad is elected

How often has there been competition from another government partner in an Oireachtas sub panel bye-election replacing a government party member, never.

Gerard Craughwell put a press release outlining his problems and motivatiosn re the Seanad bye-Election Gerard Craughwell's statement: Seanad by-election 2014 makes a mockery of democracy

Its a bit rambling, trying to narrow down the exact problem as he sees it,

A contest?
It is important to note, that by entering this by-election, I believe that I am entering a competition which is designed to ensure that no one, other than a nominee from larger partner in Government, Fine Gael, can win. Indeed not even a member of the Governments coalition partner, the Labour Party, can expect to be elected without the blessing of Fine Gael.

I have been researching Seanad bye-elections just to double check, to make sure, it is the case that government partners rarely contest Seanad bye-elections but decide before hand who they'll support, see Previous Seanad elections. Finding which party a candidate is a member of, to confirm the issue, is the most difficult part.

One could argue that the members of our City and County Councils through a democratic process elected Ms Clune a member of the Fine Gael party and as such this is a Fine Gael seat. However this argument fails its first test as in many cases the members of the City and County Councils who voted for Ms Clune have lost their seats.

Of course theres always been an element of Seanad elections that lag behind, as the previous seanad nominates and votes for the new see How the Seanad is elected.

Changes he wants.

I am calling on the Government, the Taoiseach and the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government to open voting for this by-election to members of City and County Councils as a first step towards the reform that is badly needed for Seanad Éireann.

This seat is an Oireachtas sub panel seat so councillors would not be voting on such a seat in a Seanad general election either.
29/09/2014 Pointed out to me by Joanna Tuffy TD councillors do of course vote for Oireachtas nominees in Seanad General elections not sure why I thought that.

The constitution of Ireland does not seem to say anything about councillors electing Senators or anything specific about how casual vacancies should be filled. It just says
3° Casual vacancies in the number of the elected members of Seanad Éireann shall be filled in the manner provided by law.

The Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) Act, 1947 seems to be basis law for Seanad elections and S.I. No. 148/1949 - Seanad Bye-Elections (Panel Members) (Prescribed Forms) Regulations, 1949. bye elections.

Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) Act, 1947

Chapter III.
The Poll.
The electorate.
—(1) At every Seanad general election the electorate shall consist of:—
(a) the members of Dáil Eireann elected at the Dáil election consequent on the dissolution of Dáil Eireann which occasioned such Seanad general election, and
(b) the members of Seanad Eireann, and
(c) the members of every council of a county or county borough.

I cannot yet find the specific law or regulation which states the electoral roll for Seanad bye-elections is Senator and TDs only.

Your new senator

john mcnulty | Donegal Daily

Donegal County Council 2014 Local Election Results. Electionsireland.org.

This seems to be creating a spread of candidates for Fine Gael in Donegal where Dinny Mcginley (Donegal South West) announced at the reshuffle he wasn't standing again Highland Radio – Latest Donegal News and Sport » Donegal Deputy Dinny McGinley announces he is to retire from politics and Joe McHugh (Donegal North East) was appointed a Minister for State in time for a most of Donegal to be merged into a 5 seater Donegal constituency for 2016. h/t @gavreilly and fionnansheahan. The 2014 Local Election results for Donegal via RTE shows they got 6 out of 37 councillors elected.

The red outline is the Donegal Constituency for general elections after 2014.

They’Ve Gone Gaa Gaa! Another Gaa Figure Joins Election Race | Donegal Daily

Actively involved in the GAA, John is manager of the Kilcar senior and U-21 football teams.

Short audio interview by Greg Hughes with John McNulty on Highland Radio after the news of is nominaton breaks.

Mc Nulty “honoured and delighted” following Seanad nomination

Update 25th September

Join & Support IMMA > Become a Memberm

IMMA Member - Individual €50
IMMA Concession - Individual €30
IMMA Family €100
IMMA Supporter €150
IMMA Benefactor €350
IMMA Gold Benefactor €500

Barry Whyte of Highland Radio says John McNulty had relisehd the role and had previously visited IMMA in Dublin a number of times. discussion on NewsTalk FM starts at 18 minutes.

Member LevelCostMemberhship
IMMA Member - Individual€50415
IMMA Concession - Individual€3078
IMMA Family€10026
IMMA Supporter€15018
IMMA Benefactor€35010
IMMA Gold Benefactor€5004

IMMA has a national programme to display modern art outside its Kilmainham Dublin home, IMMA currently has an exhibit in Donegal

Nomination Qualifications

Deirde Cluine was elected to the Cultural and Educational Panel of the Seanad Gerarad Craughwell is questioning John McNulty's qualification for the panel, but we see from Seantor Thomas Byrne that people can be refused for a particular panel, but somehow he managened to make it work and become a senator.

A nominee must have knowledge and practical experience are of
Cultural and Educational Panel - national language and culture, literature, art, education, law and medicine.
S.I. No. 116/2007 - Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) (Prescribed forms) (Amendment) Regulations 2007

(i) Cultural and Educational panel—
National Language and Culture, Literature, Art, Education and such professional interests as may be defined by law for the purpose of
this panel.

Professional interests for the purposes of this panel have been defined by law as—
(a) law, and
(b) medicine, including surgery, dentistry, veterinary medicine and pharmaceutical chemistry.

The Form
For general elections.
Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) (Prescribed Forms)
(Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2007

Original Act Form
S.I. No. 148/1949 - Seanad Bye-Elections (Panel Members) (Prescribed Forms) Regulations, 1949.

Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) (Prescribed Forms)
(Amendment) Regulations 2007

There is no Fianna Fail candidate for this Seanad bye-election so presumably a number of Fianna Fail TDs or Senators nominated Gerard Craughwell as well as Independents, I asked him to list who nominated him but he won't say.

See updates re Gerard Craughwell's nomination where he makes it more clear.

Guidebook How the Seanad is elected.

Is this still the basis for the application form.

S.I. No. 148/1949 - Seanad Bye-Elections (Panel Members) (Prescribed Forms) Regulations, 1949.

The Seanad Returning Officer will sit for the ruling on nominations on Monday 22 September 2014. News - Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government

Final adjudicated by a High Court Judge as in Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) Act, 1947, Section 38.

The judicial referee at completion of panels.

38.—(1) The President of the High Court or some other judge of the High Court nominated by him shall attend at the completion of the panels and there sit and act as judicial referee.

(2) The Seanad returning officer may, on his own motion, and shall, if so requested by any person whose name is on a provisional sub-panel for the time being under consideration or by the agent of any such person, refer to the judicial referee any question arising during the completion of the panels in relation to any nomination paper, the nomination of any person to a panel, the qualifications of any person for a panel, the statement by the Seanad returning officer of such qualification, or any other matter connected with the provisional panels.

(3) The judicial referee shall there and then decide and announce his decision on every question referred to him under this section by the Seanad returning officer.

(4) The decision of the judicial referee on any question referred to him under this section by the Seanad returning officer shall be final and conclusive and shall not be open to review by any court.

(5) A question may be referred to the judicial referee under this section whether the Seanad returning officer has or has not himself given a decision thereon.

Gerard Craughwell has posted his CV for the public to see.

22nd September
So Gerard Craughwell submitted his nomination papers to the Seanad Returning officer (Clerk of the Seanad) today the 22nd of September and looked at what John McNulty had listed as his qualifications. The other nominee is Sinn Féin's Catherine Seeley.

He tweeted that his qualification stated he was a board member of IMMA (The Irish Museum of Modern Art), we both went to the imma.ie website to see who was on the board, his name was not there so I googled 'appointments+Irish Museum of Modern Arts' and found a Herald article about former Labour councillor Dillon Byrne given seat on IMMA board in June, just after losing her council seat, I searched the Dail record which showed previous Minister, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan had indeed appointed her in May just before the cabinet reshuffle and summer parliament recess, which confirmed it officialy. IMMA's website did not list Jane Dillon Byrne as a board members so this confirmed the IMMA website was out of date. So I emailed and called IMMA and emailed the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht asking for an up to date list of board members for IMMA, I eventually got a reply from Patricia White from Director office at IMMA.

Please find attached the list of current Board Members of the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

Board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (2014)

Eoin McGonigal (Chairman)
Eimear O’Connor
Brendan Flynn
Julie O’Neill
Rowan Gillespie
Brian Ranalow
Mary McCarthy
*Emma Goltz
** Eamon Delaney
***Jane Dillon Byrne

∗ The following member was appointed:
E. Goltz Nov 2013

** The following member’s term of office expired:
E. Delaney May 2013

***The following member was appointed:
J. Dillon Byrne May 2014

John McNulty wasn't listed.

I sent this to Gerard Craughwell who meanwhile had checked with the Seanad returning officer who said she had confirmed that John McNulty was on the board of IMMA... we were confused and I asked the political correspondent for Today FM radio Gavan Reilly to check it out.

Then I got a reply from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht,

Following a visit to the Irish Museum of Modern Art last month, Minister Humphreys took a decision to make two appointments to the IMMA board to include representatives from the regions.
Minister Humphreys made the two appointments to the IMMA board on Friday September 12th - John Mc Nulty, Donegal and Sheila M O’Regan, Limerick.
There is no remuneration for board members.

Further information on board appointees:
John McNulty, Kilcar, Donegal, is a self-employed businessman who brings 15 years business experience to the IMMA board. He is involved in the local Tourism and Cultural committee in Kilcar and has a track record in promoting culture, heritage, the GAA and the Irish language.
John has been actively involved in local heritage events and heritage restoration projects in South Donegal, as well as festivals such as the Fleadh Ceol.
He is also currently driving a three year Irish language development plan for the area.

Minister Humphreys meets Cultural Heads - National Cultural Policy a Priority

Sutnning! he confirmed that the qualifications that was listed on the Seanad nominations papers were 'board member of IMMA, businessman'. So a board position he had held for 6 days was listed as qualification for his nomination to the Seanad.

And IMMA didn't seem to know he was on their board.

P.S. "There is no remuneration for board members." There has been a lot of talk about people going on board for no money (or expenses), but you have to ask if they are not getting money what other benefit is it worth to them?

Previous Seanad Bye-Elections

I have been researching Seanad Bye-Elections which I've put in this google spreadsheet.

The details of the Seanad bye-elections are published at the end of the Seanad general election results reports, the Oireachtas website has them from 2002-2011 and the Oireachtas Library Service has scanned in some of the older results reports, I have listed the years I found here and in each of the Seanad term sheets.

I found most details from 1972 on, obviously government parties don't challenge each other and in a 225 electorate the government has the majority to elect who they want in agreement with any coalition partners they might have.

There's been by my count total of 39 Seanad Bye-elections in the Modern Seanad sine 1937. Held an average of 184 days after the event that caused them, mostly the death of a member or the need to replace amember who was elected to either the Dail in an bye-election or European parliament. Although there was some bye-elections, 13 I counted that were never held, for example the bye-elections to replace Pierce Doherty and Kieran Phelan were not held before the end of the last government even though they were needed a 100 days before its end, but the Taoiseach did manage to replace a 'Taoiseach nominees' later which he could do without an election. Several members of the Seanad will usually get elected to the Dail at the general election and be replaced in the Seanad general election within 90 days.

I found the average turnout for Seanad Bye-elections that involve just members of parliament voting since 1977 was 95%.

Thanks to who filled all these Wikipedia pages on Seanad Éireann, the main sourecs of which is the Oireachtas members database.

The full spreadsheets has more pages on the Seanad bye-elections during each Seanad term.

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