Tag Archives: Seanad

And you’re not on it.

Last night.

The list for candidates in the Dublin University By-Election – caused by the Dail election of Ivana Bacik last year – has been sent to voters.

Only those  who have received a degree from Trinity College Dublin are eligible to vote.

ESB writes:

The rotten borough brigade is at it again. Democracy for all college grads in Ireland, please.


Dublin University By-Election

Fine Gael’s Maria Byrne (left) and Fianna Fáil’s Gerry Horkan

This afternoon.

In the Seanad by-elections.

Via RTÉ:

Fianna Fáil’s Gerry Horkan was elected to the Industrial and Commercial Panel, receiving 114 first preference votes and was elected on the first count, with the quota set at 101.5.

Green Party Chairperson Hazel Chu, who contested the election as an independent, got 10 votes.

Fine Gael’s Byrne, from Limerick, won a seat on the Agriculture Panel receiving  118 votes, finishing well ahead of Independent candidate Ian Marshall, who got 69 votes


It’s a beautiful thing.

Byrne and Horkan elected to Seanad following by-election (RTÉ)


From top: Senator Mary Alice Higgns; Senator Joe O’Reilly and  Senator Gerard Craughwell


Seanad Éireann.

Senators resumed debating the conclusions drawn from the Report of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation with many powerful contributions.

Some highlights.

Senator Lisa Chambers said:

“Questions remain to be answered by the commissioners themselves over some of the language. I do not think the Minister is in a position to answer the questions that we might have about certain phraseology used in the report. I refer to the statement that there was no evidence that children were harmed in these institutions. That is an obscene statement and one that is nothing but insulting to the survivors of those homes. Direct testimony is evidence. People recounting their direct experience is evidence. Are we looking for CCTV footage? Are we looking for photographic evidence? Who are the commissioners to decide that the evidence is not there? Were they so long in the bubble of doing this report that they became desensitised and cold to the experience of the people that lived through this experience?

“Questions must be asked about the accounts that some survivors gave that were not properly accounted for in the investigation. I refer to questions that were apparently put to survivors that were never put to them.

“We cannot simply brush over those things. There is now an onus on the Government and the State to address those questions properly. I reiterate my call that the commissioners involved in preparing this report should, take questions from survivors, the public and the media. They are not in isolation. They are publicly known now; we know who they are. They were paid well for their work. They were given ample time to complete their work. I do not think the State received from them the level of workmanship that would have been expected on that report.”

Senator Sean Kyne said:

“It is also clear that in this State, it was a man’s world. There were men who got girls and women pregnant and did not take responsibility. Of course, that does not apply to all men, as others have said, but there were those who did not take responsibility. We think of the men in the church, and it was predominantly men, although many nuns also acted in an unchristian manner within these institutions. We think also of the men in politics, and it was predominantly men, in the Dáil, Seanad and local councils. Some of those men were in charge of these institutions.”

Senator Gerard Craughwell said:

“I was in a house on the night that a girl who was working away from home rang her mother to tell her she was pregnant. The girl’s father was a stern, Victorian man and I remember the family that night being in panic about how they were going to deal with it and how they would tell the father.

“As soon as that man heard it, the first thing he said was: “Bring my daughter home and let me look after her”. Not every family disowned their child and I take grave exception to the practice of calling out families as having deserted their children.”

Senator Malcolm Byrne said

“I do not buy it that some natural mothers do not want contact with their children.

“The evidence shows that one in 20 natural mothers who were on the national adoption contact preference register did not want contact with their son or daughter, but at no stage did they want information about their health circumstances and so forth denied to their child.”

Senator Joe O’Reilly said:

“The process is just starting now and I see it as being a two-pronged approach. The first is that we are remembering and acknowledging in a very public, holistic and proper way. We are even allowing further testimony. We are doing all that. The second is that we compensate in a generous, holistic and unmiserly way that will not be difficult to access. These people experienced enough hardship as vulnerable people. It is time they were the recipients of kindness from the State.”

Senator Alice Mary Higgins said

“The report tells us that the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission asked for any investigation to be informed by human rights law, but the Government did not opt for that approach in its mandate to the commission. This raises very serious questions. The sidelining of human rights really does show.

When the State puts a payment on the heads of vulnerable people, as it still does with regard to direct provision and homelessness, it can be dangerous. When the State surrenders power to religious orders, as is currently planned for the national maternity hospital, it can be dangerous. I urge the Minister to work with all of us to build a state that takes responsibility for the past and for the future.”

Senator Vincent P Martin said:

“We had the Dáil Éireann republican courts from 1919 to 1924 during the struggle for independence when the people turned their backs on the British common law system. There was a judge all those years ago called James Creed Meredith.

“In a groundbreaking decision at the time, by applying Brehon law rather than common law, he ruled that the father of a child born out of wedlock ought to pay maintenance. It is a small thing. When we restored the British-style Judiciary in 1914 we reapplied the common law and we reversed that decision.

“That was the position all the way up to our lifetime and the 1980s. Then, past Members of this House – we should give them credit for it – including Mary Robinson and Nuala Fennell, were instrumental in giving recognition to such basic rights as inheritance rights and recognition for children born outside of wedlock.”

Senator Annie Hoey said:

“I refer to the insistence that the Church and the State did not force women into the mother and baby homes and that there was no forced adoption or coercion. I speak for many people when I say that those statements are incredible, almost audacious. My colleague, Senator Craughwell, put it correctly when he said that this is gaslighting survivors. In the same week that we have had the first person convicted and sentenced for coercive control, a crime for which I believe a twelve-and-a-half-year sentence was handed down, I find it extraordinary that we can recognise coercive control as a crime but not cast our eyes back into our grisly past and see the deep coercion that took place in those homes.”

Senator Garret Ahern said:

“When the Department of Health proposed turning the Sean Ross Abbey into a home for children with special needs in the 1960s, the Bishop of Killaloe rejected the proposal. His intervention resulted in a number of visits to the bishop by senior civil servants and letters from Ministers. The closure of the Sean Ross Abbey was delayed for several years until the bishop had died and his successor subsequently gave his approval. During those years, many children died.”

Transcripts via Oireachtas.ie

Thanks Breeda Murphy

Only a judge (actually three) can decide.

This afternoon.

The High Court, Dublin.

Labour senator Ivana Bacik (above and top) – representing a group of ten senators who are taking action to find out if the  Seanad can sit  without the next taoiseach’s nominees – arrives for a specially convened hearing.

The State argues it cannot sit until all 60 members are appointed.

Via RTÉ:

The outcome of the case will be significant if a government is not formed this weekend as legislation for terrorist and gangland crime – including the operation of the Special Criminal Court – needs to be renewed by next Monday or it will lapse.

The case is being heard by three judges of the High Court, including the President of the court Ms Justice Mary Irvine.

More as we get it.

High Court action over whether Seanad can meet and legislate (RTÉ)


There you go.

More as he gets it.

Related: It’s going to cost taxpayer €50k-a-day to have Dail sit in Convention Centre (Herald.ie)



Old school Gates.

Luke Silke tweetz:

Following queries, The Oireachtas have confirmed that the software used to display the results of today’s Seanad election count was developed in 1993 and has “worked perfectly” in every election since then, adding that it also “works on Windows 10”

Earlier: Meanwhile, In Dublin Castle

This morning.

Solidarity-People Before Profit’s Ruth Coppinger, who lost her Dáil seat last weekend, announces that she will run for a seat in the Seanad in the for the National University of Ireland constituency.

In fairness.


Previously: The Ruth Gets In The Way Of A Good Story

This afternoon.

In the Seanad.

Statements on Palestine are being given before a vote on the Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018 is taken.

Earlier: Meanwhile, Outside Leinster House

Previously: Why A Trade Ban Is Necessary


Tánaiste and Mininster for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney was the first politician to make a statement.

Mr Coveney said:

“Speaking on behalf of the Government, I am unable to agree that this bill is the right way forward. And I want to set out carefully for the Seanad why I believe this is so.

“There are three broad reasons. Legal, political and in terms of practical effect. The overriding point which frames the Government’s view is that the bill asks the state to do something which we do not have in our power. Ireland is part of a single, unified EU market, external trade policy, that is trade by third countries into the EU, as well as trade between the EU members states is an exclusive competence of the European Union.

“We are not in a position to raise a barrier and declare that goods legally available elsewhere in the EU cannot be brought into Ireland for sale.

“There are some other legal difficulties with the bill but I will leave those aside for now because this is the essential point. It does not concern just how the legislation is framed or drafted, but the very ability of Ireland to enact such legislation within EU rules.

“Passage of this bill would therefore be a breach of European law and exposes Ireland to potentially legal action by the European Commission or affected individuals and potentially also to fines and damages which could continue as long as the bill remained in force. This is not a course that any Government could support….”

The Seanad debate can be watched live here



There you go now.

He looks well.

UK must accept it is decision time on Brexit – Hogan (RTE)