Kenny promises Seanad voting rights to all graduates

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said that voting rights for the Seanad will be extended to all university graduates
THERE has been a welcome for Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s pledge that the city’s third level graduates will vote in future Seanad referendums.

THERE has been a welcome for Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s pledge that the city’s third level graduates will vote in future Seanad referendums.

In his leader’s speech at the South Court Hotel in Raheen on Saturday night, Mr Kenny announced that graduates of all third level institutions in Ireland will get a vote in future Seanad elections.

This will see graduates of the Limerick Institute of Technology, Mary Immaculate College and the University of Limerick vote for six seats in the upper house for the first time.

Mr Kenny confirmed legislation will be prepared to give effect to a referendum decision made in 1979 to extend the Seanad electorate to all graduates.

At present, only graduates of the National University of Ireland and Trinity College Dublin vote to elect the six senators.

Mr Kenny said he accepted the decision of the public to retain the Seanad.

He added: “We will now continue reforming the political system, and ensuring that the Seanad is effective as possible. I intend to discuss this with the leaders of the Dail and the Seanad in the next two weeks, and as a small first step, I have asked that legislation be prepared to give effect to the 1979 decision of the Irish people to extend the Seanad electorate to all graduates.”

Fine Gael’s leader on Limerick City Council, Cllr Diarmuid Scully - a student of UL - warmly welcomed the decision.

“I am delighted its happening. I think it is exactly the right thing to do. Graduates are one in three of the population. If we are going to have a Senate, we should have one which is as wide as possible. Let’s end the rotten borough which Trinity College has seen in particular for so long. Let people come down here and canvass for a few votes,” Cllr Scully said.

Following the rejection of the referendum to abolish the Seanad, Cllr Scully sent a letter requesting the voting rights be extended to Mr Kenny.

LIT students union president Chris Walshe said he was delighted to learn that the franchise will be extended.

“We’ve had a big push to get students voting. It was an issue in the past, but it has improved. It is something I welcome,” he said.