In theory, Seanad Éireann does not recognise party affiliations. However, as the electorate for the panels is made up of the Members of the incoming Dáil, the outgoing Seanad, county councils and county borough councils, the composition of Seanad Éireann, including the Taoiseach's nominees, will tend to reflect party strengths in Dáil Éireann.
In practice, Senators will divide into groups supporting and opposing Government business when voting on issues.
Like TDs, Senators have a busy and varied week. The Seanad sitting commences with the announcement of the Order of Business and Senators normally get the opportunity to broaden the debate to raise important and topical issues of the day and request time to debate them.
A typical day involves:
In addition to their parliamentary duties, Senators liaise with civil society groups, contribute to debates in the national and local media and work on behalf of their electorate.