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Seanad could operate on a voluntary basis - FG Senator

Senator Catherine Noone said that Senators could work on a volunteer basis to preserve the Seanad as a “key feature of our democratic system”.

A FINE GAEL Senator has suggested that the Seanad could be staffed by volunteer Senators instead of abolishing it completely.

Catherine Noone said that Senators could work on a volunteer basis to preserve the Seanad as a “key feature of our democratic system”.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said in his recent address to the nation that a referendum to abolish the Seanad will be held next year.

Speaking during the Order of Business today, the Senator said that the proposal could be a solution to financial and political reform issues.

“If money is the problem then surely we can find a way around it. If we are really talking about political reform, all possible options need to be put on the table,” said Noone.

At a time when we’re trying to cut costs in politics, I think this idea could have real potential.

The Fine Gael Senator said that making the position voluntary would allow members to bring in their outside experience to the role:

“If we made the role of Senator a voluntary one which would be less onerous time wise, it would allow members to continue in their careers and bring a wealth of outside knowledge to the Seanad”.

“After all, this is what the Seanad is for: bringing alternative perspectives to our legislative system that may not be raised in the Dáil”.

Noone added that the proposal would deliver “significant” benefits to taxpayers while also “safeguarding our democracy”.

Column: I’m in the Seanad now – but I think it needs to change or die >

Watch: Eamonn Coghlan gets Senators exercised – literally – in the Seanad >

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