The NUI is to be abolished, with implications for Seanad elections. So how about proper reform, instead of minimalist tinkering?
Seanad Éireann shall be composed of sixty members, of whom eleven shall be nominated members and forty-nine shall be elected members.
A person to be eligible for membership of Seanad Éireann must be eligible to become a member of Dáil Éireann.
The nominated members of Seanad Éireann shall be nominated, with their prior consent, by the Taoiseach who is appointed next after the re-assembly of Dáil Éireann following the dissolution thereof which occasions the nomination of the said members.
The elected members of Seanad Éireann shall be elected as follows:—
i Three shall be elected by the National University of Ireland.
ii Three shall be elected by the University of Dublin.
iii Forty-three shall be elected from panels of candidates constituted as hereinafter provided.
Provision may be made by law for the election, on a franchise and in the manner to be provided by law, by one or more of the following institutions, namely:
i the universities mentioned in subsection 1° of this section,
ii any other institutions of higher education in the State,
of so many members of Seanad Éireann as may be fixed by law in substitution for an equal number of the members to be elected pursuant to paragraphs i and ii of the said subsection 1°.
A member or members of Seanad Éireann may be elected under this subsection by institutions grouped together or by a single institution.
3° Nothing in this Article shall be invoked to prohibit the dissolution by law of a university mentioned in subsection 1° of this section.
Every election of the elected members of Seanad Éireann shall be held on the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote, and by secret postal ballot.
The members of Seanad Éireann to be elected by the Universities shall be elected on a franchise and in the manner to be provided by law.
Before each general election of the members of Seanad Éireann to be elected from panels of candidates, five panels of candidates shall be formed in the manner provided by law containing respectively the names of persons having knowledge and practical experience of the following interests and services, namely:–
i National Language and Culture, Literature, Art, Education and such professional interests as may be defined by law for the purpose of this panel;
ii Agriculture and allied interests, and Fisheries;
iii Labour, whether organised or unorganised;
iv Industry and Commerce, including banking, finance, accountancy, engineering and architecture;
v Public Administration and social services, including voluntary social activities.
Not more than eleven and, subject to the provisions of Article 19 hereof, not less than five members of Seanad Éireann shall be elected from any one panel.
A general election for Seanad Éireann shall take place not later than ninety days after a dissolution of Dáil Éireann, and the first meeting of Seanad Éireann after the general election shall take place on a day to be fixed by the President on the advice of the Taoiseach.
Every member of Seanad Éireann shall, unless he dies, resigns, or becomes disqualified, continue to hold office until the day before the polling day of the general election for Seanad Éireann next held after his election or nomination.
Subject to the foregoing provisions of this Article elections of the elected members of Seanad Éireann shall be regulated by law.
Casual vacancies in the number of the nominated members of Seanad Éireann shall be filled by nomination by the Taoiseach with the prior consent of persons so nominated.
Casual vacancies in the number of the elected members of Seanad Éireann shall be filled in the manner provided by law.
Provision may be made by law for the direct election by any functional or vocational group or association or council of so many members of Seanad Éireann as may be fixed by such law in substitution for an equal number of the members to be elected from the corresponding panels of candidates constituted under Article 18 of this Constitution.
Article 19 could then be rewritten to allow direct elections by anyone with Dail vote returning Senators for a fixed five year term. Elections would take place on the same day as Euro and local elections.
Perhaps we could use Euro constituencies for the Seanad election. Or we could go back to 1925 (the only time we directly elected a Seanad) and a single countrywide constituenciy.
How about it, Mr Gormley?