Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Seanad seats up for grabs?

In this article in the Irish Times Ferdinand Von Prondzynski, President of DCU, considers Batt O'Keefe's bolt-from-the-blue announcement that he is to do away with the 102-year-old National University of Ireland, a decision he seems to have reached without consulting anyone you'd think he might - the Chancellor or Senate of the NUI, the Presidents or governing bodies of the NUI universities, the NUI's alumni, NUI Senators, etc. etc.

One interesting paragraph is this:
Finally, I am wondering what will happen to the NUI Seanad seats. More than 30 years ago, the people decided, in a constitutional referendum, that the franchise for the six university seats should be extended beyond the graduates of TCD and the NUI. Since then, successive governments of all shades have done absolutely nothing about this, showing what can only be described as contempt for the electorate. Maybe the dissolution of the NUI will now provide the prompt for action on this point, though I’m not holding my breath.
There are two things to say about this: firstly, it's yet another example of the government's (and governments') willingness to ignore constitutional reform and related legislation when it suits them, an interesting point in the light of Dermot Torquemada Ahern's haste to legislate for an offence of blasphemy; secondly, it highlights the fact that those Seanad seats will be up for grabs in some way.

This starts to look like a perfect opportunity for some Fianna Failure graft, cute hooring, and gombeenery. Let's all watch closely to see what they come up with.

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