The Programme for a Partnership Government includes an objective to pursue the implementation of the Manning Report, formally known as the Report of the Working Group on Seanad Reform. That report makes recommendations to restructure and reform the Seanad, including implementation of the 1979 amendment of the constitution to extend the university franchise at Seanad elections to graduates of other institutions of higher education in the State.
In April 2018, the Taoiseach established an Implementation Group on Seanad Reform (SRIG) to consider the Manning report and to develop specific proposals to legislate for Seanad Reform. The Group comprised Members of the Oireachtas with the assistance of outside experts, as appropriate. The Group's report, together with a draft Bill, was published in December 2018.
The SRIG Report contains recommendations in relation to electoral reform, including the extension of the university franchise at Seanad elections to graduates of other institutions of higher education in the State. The Report also contains recommendations relating to non-statutory reforms to the way the Seanad conducts its business. The Report was noted by Government at its meeting on 30 April 2019. Government also noted that the Report includes four statements from various groups outlining where their position was not in line with recommendations of the Report.
The Government will reflect on the views of the Oireachtas in considering the next steps to be taken following statements in both Houses of the Oireachtas. Statements on the Report of the SRIG were held in the Seanad on 24 September 2019 and in the Dáil on 7 November 2019.