In a campaign backed by some of the opposition and not seen as a chance to punish the government for austerity policies imposed as part of an EU/IMF bailout,
The Fine Gael Labour coalition government proposal was supported by Sinn Féin and was lost by a narrow margin, with 48.3% voting in favour of abolition, with 51.7% against.
Total turnout in the election was higher than expected at nearly 40%.With his party still in front in most opinion polls at the midway point of a five-year term, analysts said there would be no immediate damage for the prime minister as the country prepares to complete its bailout later this year.
Kenny had argued that the 75-year-old institution was elitist, undemocratic and promised its abolition would save money. Advocates for the senate, including the main opposition party Fianna Fail, accused the government of a power grab.
The 60 members of the senate only have limited powers such as temporarily delaying legislation. But during the campaign Kenny's Fine Gael party said the last time it did so was in 1964.
Eleven appointed by the Taoiseach (prime minister).
- Three by graduates of the University of Dublin.
- Three by graduates of the National University of Ireland.
- 43 elected from five special panels of nominees (known as Vocational Panels) by an electorate consisting of TDs (member of Dáil Éireann), senators and local councillors. Nomination is restrictive for the panel seats with only Oireachtas members and designated 'nominating bodies' entitled to nominate. Each of the five panels consists, in theory, of individuals possessing special knowledge of, or experience in, one of five specific fields. In practice the nominees are party members, often, though not always, failed or aspiring Dáil candidates:
- Administrative Panel: Public administration and social services (including the voluntary sector).
- Agricultural Panel: Agriculture and the fisheries.
- Cultural and Educational Panel: Education, the arts, the Irish language and Irish culture and literature.
- Industrial and Commercial Panel: Industry and commerce (including engineering and architecture).
- Labour Panel: Labour (organised or otherwise).
Kenny, who surprised many of his colleagues when he first raised the idea of scrapping the senate while in opposition, was criticised for refusing to take part in television debates, just as he had been during the last election campaign
Taoiseach Kenny may be damaged but his Fine Gael Party still be ahead in the opinion polls .But its it and its coalition partner partner Labour have slumped since the last election.
Fine Gael 36.1% 27%
Labour 19.4% 10%
Fianna Fáil 17.5 % 23%
Sinn Fein 9.9 % 17%
Others 11.4 % 23%
As we consider the governance of Wales and whether in the future as powers for the Assembly or future Welsh Parliament . We will need to consider if we need a second chamber if only to prevent the constant referral to to judicial review that is currently happening to bills passed by our assembly.
Most legislatures have a second chamber but that is no reason why we should follow suit but if we do serious consideration in how it is elected and how representable it is of the people of Wales should be carefully considerd.