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Seanad Reform

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 17 September 2014

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Questions (1485)

Ruth Coppinger

Question:

1485. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will report on the meetings of the technical working group for the Seanad Electoral (University Members)(Amendment) Bill; if he will report on any conclusions or decisions made; the number of meetings that have taken place; the meetings that are scheduled; if the group has come across any challenges relating to the new electoral register; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33111/14]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

In February 2014 the General Scheme of the Seanad Electoral (University Members) (Amendment) Bill 2014 was published for consultation. The General Scheme is part of the legislative process to implement the 1979 constitutional amendment to extend the Seanad franchise to graduates from institutions of higher education in the State that heretofore did not form part of the Seanad university constituencies. The Statement of Government Priorities published in July 2014 provides for the enactment of this legislation.

In progressing work on the General Scheme a technical working group was set up to examine and make observations on operational matters including in respect of the creation and maintenance of a register of electors, the administration of elections in the new Seanad constituency and issues of cost arising from implementation of the proposed new electoral arrangements. This group is chaired by my Department and includes nominees from the Department of Education and Skills, the National University of Ireland, the University of Dublin - Trinity College, the Irish Universities Association, Institutes of Technology Ireland (IoTI) and the Higher Education Colleges Association. Arrangements were made for IoTI to also represent the interests of the Dublin Institute of Technology at meetings.

To date, the Group has met on four occasions. Its observations and issues raised in submissions made as part of the public consultation process are informing the further development of the General Scheme, which has not yet concluded. Since its last meeting, contact has been maintained between my Department and members of the Technical Working Group and further meetings of the Group may be convened at a later stage should any other matters arise that would benefit from its further consideration.

Question No. 1486 answered with Question No. 1451.
Question No. 1487 answered with Question No. 1484.
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