New deputy pledges Seanad reform

The new deputy leader of the Seanad today vowed to change the upper house’s reputation as an expensive “talking shop”.

Former Green Party TD Senator Dan Boyle, who lost his seat in the general election, helped negotiate the programme for government with Fianna Fail in June to share power for the first time.

He was announced today as deputy leader of the Seanad and will work closely with its leader, Senator Donie Cassidy.

The former Cork South Central representative said his new position will help him bring long-awaited reform to the Seanad.

The 60-member assembly normally meets two days a week on Wednesday and Thursday. It has been criticised in the past for being a “talking shop” with limited influence on the drafting of legislation.

But Mr Boyle said: “I look forward to working with the leader of the Seanad in ensuring that the Seanad plays a vital role in progressing the legislative programme of the Government, building on the work of the previous Seanad in meeting more frequently and in working with the Dail to bring about innovative changes.”

Earlier this month, the Taoiseach included Mr Boyle and his party colleague Deirdre de Burca among his 11 nominees to the Seanad.

The list also featured controversial political columnist Eoghan Harris and former Fianna Fail TDs Ivor Callely and John Ellis.

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