Fiachra Ó Céilleachair, Comhalta Údarás na Gaeltachta

Guide to the Seanad Election 2011

Issued : Thursday 24 March, 2011

There are 60 members of Seanad Éireann. A total of 49 positions will be filled in the elections to the 24th Seanad due at the end of April 2011. Subsequent to the elections, the Taoiseach appoints an additional 11 members.

The “Vocational” Panels

 

A total of 43 positions will be decided by an electorate comprised of incoming TDs (166), outgoing members of the 23rd Seanad who are not TDs (45) and members of 28 County and six City Councils (883). The total electorate – including recent co-options to local authorities to replace members elected to the Dáil – stands at 1,094. Each individual in that electorate, in effect, has five opportunities to vote (one cast in each of five “vocational panels”).

 

The seats on the Vocational Panels are divided between the Cultural and Educational (5), Administrative (7), Industrial/Commercial (9), Agricultural (11) and Labour (11) Panels. 

 

The “University” Senators

 

A further six members will be elected to the 24th Seanad from two “university panels”, in which voting is restricted to the graduates of specified universities within the state and who are Irish citizens. Some 97,000 electors are registered to participate in electing three Senators from the NUI panel and some 37,000 are on the register for election of three Senators from the University of Dublin/Trinity College panel.

 

Incoming TDs, outgoing Senators or Councillors entitled to vote in the vocational panels may also be eligible to vote in the university panels if they are qualified. The President of Ireland, ‘though part of the Oireachtas, may vote in a general election (i.e. elect TDs) and does not participate in the Seanad one unless they are an NUI or Trinity College graduate. MEPs cannot vote in elections to the vocational panels but may be qualified to participate in the university votes.

 

Nominating and electing candidates in the Seanad elections

 

Combinations by four of incoming TDs and outgoing members of the 23rd Seanad are enabled (in one instance each only) to nominate a candidate to contest a vocational panel.

 

Each of the five vocational panels have recognized nominating bodies, who may also approve candidates to stand. Examples of nominating bodies include the Irish Countrywomens Association (for the Cultural and Educational Panel), the RDS (for the Agricultural Panel); ICTU (for the Labour Panel), the Chambers of Commerce of Ireland (for the Industrial and Commercial Panel) and the Irish Wheelchair Association (for the Administrative Panel).

 

There are suitability criteria for candidates to satisfy in the first instance. Counts to elect the Vocational Panel members are run on the Transferable Vote/Proportional Representation method and there are complexities in the election. Votes are multiplied, which facilitates transfers to other candidates based on percentage allocation.

 

There is also a balance to be observed in how many candidates are elected in each vocational panel, based on whether they were nominated by Oireachtas members or through the recognized nominating bodies. For instance, in the 2007 Seanad elections, of the 11 seats won on the Agricultural Panel, five in each category were to be elected and the remaining one place went to a candidate nominated by an “outside” body. Technically, it may occur in the progress of a count that seven candidates nominated by Oireachtas members for such an 11 seat Panel may be in a position to be elected. No more than six nominated through that route, however, can win a seat. Therefore, the seventh best placed of all candidates could lose out in that scenario to five lesser place candidates on the basis that a set number of places had to be filled by those nominated by “outside” bodies.  

 

Voting power by parties

 

There are varying reasons as to why candidates officially backed by the leadership of a political party may not command the support of all electors within its sphere but the political affiliations of TDs, Senators and Councillors are significant in how the majority of seats in the vocational panels get filled.

 

Of the 1,094 electors for the Vocational Panels, the following is the breakdown by party:

421 Fine Gael (339 Councillors, 76 TDs and 6 Senators).

261 Fianna Fáil (214 Councillors, 27 Senators and 20 TDs).

172 Labour (133 Councillors, 37 TDs and 2 Senators).

67 Sinn Féin (53 Councillors and 14 TDs).

16 United Left Alliance (11 Councillors and 5 TDs).

6 Green Party (3 Senators and 3 Councillors).

151 Non Party (130 Councillors, 14 TDs and 7 Senators).

 

There are 30 outgoing Senators seeking re-election (18 Fianna Fáil, 5 Fine Gael, 1 Labour, 2 Greens and 4 non party). In six instances they have been nominated to stand by Oireachtas members, another four are defending seats in university panels and the remaining 20 have nominations from outside bodies.

 

Candidates for the Culture and Educational Panel (5 seats)

 

The effective quota for this panel, based on full participation of all 1,094 electors, would be 182. At least two from each category will be elected. Based on the party affiliations of electors, the share of quotas for this panel is Fine Gael 2.3, Fianna Fáil 1.4 and Labour 0.9.

 

Nominated by outside bodies: Cllr Victor Boyhan, Dún Laoghaire (Ind); Cllr Molly Buckley, Offaly (FG); Cllr Conor Delaney, Tipperary (FG); Cllr Nicola Hogan, Offaly (FG); Cllr Anne-Maria Irish, Kilkenny (FG); Cllr Pat Kennedy, Limerick (Ind); Cllr John McCartin, Leitrim (FG); Cllr Michael Mullins, Galway (FG); Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú (FF); Cllr Jim O’Dea, Dublin (FG); Senator Ann Ormonde (FF); Cllr Hilary Quinlan Waterford (FG); Cllr Séamus Walsh, Co. Galway (FF).

Nominated by Oireachtas members: Thomas Byrne, Meath (FF); Deirdre Clune, Cork (FG); Cllr John Gilroy, Cork (Lab); Cllr Liam Quinn, Offaly (FG); Cllr Bill Tormey, Dublin (FG).

 

Candidates for the Administrative Panel (7 seats)

 

The effective quota for this panel, based on full participation of all 1,094 electors, would be 133. At least three from each category will be elected. Based on the party affiliations of electors, the share of quotas for this panel is Fine Gael 3, Fianna Fáil 1.9 and Labour 1.2.

 

Nominated by outside bodies: Séamus Boland, Offaly; Cllr Molly Buckley, Offaly (FG); Cllr Maria Byrne, Limerick (FG); Cllr Phyll Bugler, Tipperary (FG); Cllr Martin Conway, Clare (FG); Senator Mark Daly (FF); Cllr Denis Landy, Tipperary (Lab); Cllr Enda McGloin, Leitrim (FG); Mary Moran, Louth (Lab); Cllr Seán OGrady, Kerry (Lab); Cllr Barry Ward, Dún Laoghaire (FG).

Nominated by Oireachtas members: Senator Martin Brady (FF); Michael Darcy, Wexford (FG); Cllr Kieran Dennison, Dublin (FG); Cllr Mary Fitzpatrick, Dublin (FF); Cllr Mary Hourigan, Tipperary (FG); Cllr John Kelly, Roscommon (Lab); Seán Lyons, Dublin, (Ind); Tom Sheahan, Kerry (FG); Senator Diarmuid Wilson (FF).

 

Candidates for the Industrial and Commercial Panel (9 seats)

 

The effective quota for this panel, based on full participation of all 1,094 electors, would be 110. At least four from each category will be elected. Based on the party affiliations of electors, the share of quotas for this panel is Fine Gael 3.8, Fianna Fáil 2.3, Labour 1.5 and Sinn Féin 0.6.

 

Nominated by outside bodies: Colm Burke, Cork (FG); Cllr Richard Butler, Limerick (FG); Danny Byrne, Dublin; Mel Casserly, Sligo; John Clendennen, Offaly; Senator Paul Coghlan (FG); Pat Crotty, Kilkenny (FG); Cllr John Crowe, Clare (FG); Cllr David Fitzgerald, Kilkenny (FG); Cllr Tom Fortune, Wicklow (Lab); Aideen Hayden, Dublin; Cllr Imelda Henry, Sligo (FG); Lorraine Higgins, Galway (Lab); Cllr Pat Hynes, Galway (Ind); Paul Keogh, Dublin; Cllr Michael Kinsella, Wexford (FG);

Cllr Joe Leddin, Limerick (Lab); Senator Marc MacSharry (FF); Cllr Laura McGonigle, Cork (FG); Cllr Peter McVitty, Cavan (FG); Patrick Malone, Louth; Cllr Michael ’Spike’ Nolan, Kildare (FG); Cllr Catherine Noone, Dublin (FG); Cllr Kenneth O’ Flynn, Cork (FF); Cllr Michael Sheehan, Wexford (FF); Senator Mary White (FF).

Nominated by Oireachtas members: Senator Dan Boyle (Green); Cllr Gerry Breen, Dublin (FG); Cllr Colm Brophy, Dublin (FG); Cllr Peter Burke, Westmeath (FG); Margaret Conlon, Monaghan (FF); Cllr Jimmy Harte, Donegal (Lab); Cllr Tom McHugh, Co Galway (FG); Averil Power, Dublin (FF); Kathryn Reilly, Cavan (SF).

 

Candidates for the Labour Panel (11 seats)

 

The effective quota for this panel, based on full participation of all 1,094 electors, would be 89. At least five from each category will be elected. Based on the party affiliations of electors, the share of quotas for this panel is Fine Gael 4.5, Fianna Fáil 2.8, Labour 1.8 and Sinn Féin 0.7.

 

Nominated by outside bodies: Cllr Terry Brennan, Louth (FG); Cllr Sirena Campbell, Louth (FG); Senator Donie Cassidy (FF); Senator Maurice Cummins (FG); Senator Geraldine Feeney (FF); Senator John Hanafin (FF); Senator Terry Leyden (FF); Cllr Marie Maloney, Kerry (Lab); Cllr Barry Nevin, Wicklow (Lab); Joe O’Callaghan, Cork (FG); Michael O’Reilly, ex Unite TU, Dublin; Senator Ned O’Sullivan (FF).

Nominated by Oireachtas members: Cllr David Cullinane, Waterford City (SF); Francis Donnelly, Kildare (Ind); Senator Fidelma Healy-Eames (FG); Cllr Cáit Keane, Dublin (FG); Cllr Tony Mulcahy, Clare (FG); Cllr Jennifer Murnane O’Connor, Carlow (FF); Senator Darragh OBrien (FF); Cllr Neale Richmond, Dublin (FG); John Whelan, Laois (Lab).

 

Candidates for the Agricultural Panel (11 seats)

 

The effective quota for this panel, based on full participation of all 1,094 electors, would be 89. At least five from each category will be elected. Based on the party affiliations of electors, the share of quotas for this panel is Fine Gael 4.5, Fianna Fáil 2.8, Labour 1.8 and Sinn Féin 0.7.

 

Nominated by outside bodies: Senator Paul Bradford (FG); Cllr Joe Brennan, Tipperary South (FG); Senator Paddy Burke (FG); Cllr Michael Clarke, Sligo (Ind); Cllr Alan Coleman, Cork (FF); Sean Connick, Wexford (FF); John Dillon, Limerick (Ind); Cllr Declan Doocey, Waterford (FG); Cllr John Hogan, Tipperary (FF); Cllr Frank McDermott, Westmeath (FG); Dr Martin Mansergh, Tipperary (FF); Senator Paschal Mooney (FF); Senator Brian O’Domhnaill (FF); Senator Denis O’Donovan (FF); Cllr Pat ONeill, Kilkenny (FG); Cllr Martin Phelan, Laois (FG); Cllr John Sheahan, Limerick (FG); Senator Jim Walsh (FF).

Nominated by Oireachtas members: Cllr John Bailey, Dún Laoghaire (FG); Pat Burton, Cork (FG); Senator James Carroll (FF); Michael Comiskey, Leitrim (FG); Cllr Peter Feeney, Co. Galway (FG); Cllr James Heffernan, Co. Limerick (Lab); Cllr Colm Markey, Louth (FG); Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, Co. Galway (SF); Susan OKeeffe, Sligo (Lab); Eamon Scanlon, Sligo (FF).

 

Candidates for the NUI Panel (3 seats)

 

There is a registered electorate of some 97,000 on this panel. Based on typical turnout, up to 36,000 would be expected to vote and a quota of approximately 9,000. Traditionally, formal party affiliation is not acknowledged on the ballot paper or upon taking up a seat if successful. For instance, among this election’s candidates, Donncha O’ Connell is a member of the Labour Party but contesting as an Independent.

 

Candidates: CANNING, Thomas; COWLEY, Matthias; COYLE, James; CROWN, Dr. John; DOORLEY, James; HEALY, Paddy; KELLEHER, Declan; KENNEDY, John Paul; KEOGH, Helen; LANGAN, Mick; LYNAM, Paul; MCCURTIN, David; MOLLOY, Dr. Michael; MOONEY, Peter; MULLEN, Senator Rónán; Ó BROIN, Eoin; Ó BROLCHÁIN, Senator Niall; Ó CADHLA, Diarmaid; O’CONNELL, Donncha; O’CONNOR, Regina; O’DONNELL, Francis; O’DONOGHUE, James; O’SHEA FARREN, Linda; O’SULLIVAN, Bernadine; PRICE, Brendan; QUINN, Senator Feargal; SULLIVAN, Daniel.

 

Candidates for the Dublin University/Trinity College Panel (3 seats)

 

There is a registered electorate of some 37,000 on this panel. Based on typical turnout, up to 17,000 would be expected to vote and a quota of approximately 4,300. Traditionally, formal party affiliation is not acknowledged on the ballot paper or upon taking up a seat if successful. For instance, among this election’s candidates, Senator Ivana Bacik is a member of the Labour Party but contesting as an Independent.

 

Candidates: BACIK, Senator Ivana; BARRETT, Sean; COLEMAN, Marc; CONNOLLY, Bart; COX, Maeve; DONNELLY, Francis; DUBSKY, Karin; DUDGEON, Jeffrey; FROST, Dermot; GUÉRET, Dr. Maurice; HANAN, Robin; MCDONAGH, Rosaleen; MCGOVERN, Iggy; MARTIN, David; NORRIS, Senator David; O’ MALLEY, Senator Fiona; PRIESTLY, William; QUINN, Graham; SHEEHAN, Dermot; WILLIAMS, Tony.

 

The Taoiseach’s Nominees to the Seanad (11 seats)

 

The Taoiseach of the day, in consultation, could name 11 members of his or her own party to join the 49 elected members to make up the full complement of 60. In practice, however, some non party affiliates may feature among nominees and in the case of a coalition the other parties in government may have a call on an agreed number of nominated seats. Candidates unsuccessful in the election of 49 members can do and have featured among those nominated by a Taoiseach to the Seanad.

An Comhalta Fiachra Ó Céilleachair


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