Which individuals are members of the Seanad in Ireland?

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By Laurie Baratti

Understanding the Seanad

The Seanad Éireann, also known as the Irish Senate, is the upper house of the Oireachtas, the Irish legislature. It is composed of 60 members who serve for five-year terms. The Seanad’s role is to scrutinize and amend legislation passed by the lower house, the Dáil Éireann. It also has the power to initiate legislation and to review the performance of government departments and agencies.

Composition of the Seanad

The Seanad is composed of a mix of elected and appointed members. Eleven members are appointed by the Taoiseach, the Prime Minister of Ireland, six are elected by graduates of certain Irish universities, and the remaining 43 are elected by panels representing various sectors of Irish society.

Who can be a member of the Seanad?

To be eligible for membership in the Seanad, a person must be at least 21 years old, a citizen of Ireland, and not a member of the Dáil Éireann or the European Parliament. They must also meet certain qualifications depending on the panel they are running for election in.

University constituencies in the Seanad

The six university constituencies in the Seanad are made up of graduates of Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin, the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway, the NUI Cork, the NUI Maynooth, and the University of Limerick. Each constituency elects three members to the Seanad.

Vocational panels in the Seanad

The remaining 43 members of the Seanad are elected from five vocational panels. These panels represent various sectors of Irish society, including agriculture and fisheries, labour, culture and education, industry and commerce, and the Irish language community.

Nominees of the Taoiseach and the Prime Minister

The Taoiseach, or Prime Minister, of Ireland appoints 11 members to the Seanad. These appointments are typically made from among the Taoiseach’s own political party or coalition partners.

Nominees of the Irish language community

The Irish language community is represented in the Seanad by five members, who are nominated by various language and cultural organizations.

Nominees of the Agriculture and Fisheries sectors

The agriculture and fisheries panel is represented by 11 members, who are elected by individuals and organizations involved in these sectors.

Nominees of the Labour panel

The labour panel is made up of nine members, who are elected by trade unions and other labour organizations.

Nominees of the Industrial and Commercial sector

The industrial and commercial panel is represented by nine members, who are elected by various business and professional organizations.

Nominees of the Cultural and Educational sector

The cultural and educational panel is made up of five members, who are elected by individuals and organizations involved in these sectors.

Conclusion: Role and Importance of the Seanad

While the Dáil Éireann is the more powerful of the two houses of the Oireachtas, the Seanad plays an important role in the legislative process by providing a forum for debate and scrutiny. Its composition reflects a diverse range of interests and perspectives, making it an important check on the power of the government and an avenue for the representation of various sectors of Irish society.

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Laurie Baratti

Laurie Baratti, a renowned San Diego journalist, has contributed to respected publications like TravelAge West, SPACE, Modern Home + Living, Montage, and Sandals Life. She's a passionate travel writer, constantly exploring beyond California. Besides her writing, Laurie is an avid equestrian and dedicated pet owner. She's a strong advocate for the Oxford comma, appreciating the richness of language.

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