So the Government and some of the opposition wants to abolish An Seanad, and our senators, a bunch of waster who are undemocratically elected and a total waste of space.
Or is that really the case? Is the Upper House a waste of space, or is it an important cog in our democratic machine, a body of serious minded people who are prepared to let the members of the Dail have it there own way: a body that is there to represent the people, and question legislative bills on behalf of the people, even though the people did not elect them?
Mary Moran from Blackrock is new to the Seanad and since her election - or as some Seanad detractors would say - her appointment, she has made quite an impact as Labour Party spokesperson on Education, Disability, and Mental Health.
Teaching has been her profession for most of her professional life, she has direct experience of the difficulties facing the disabled, and has helped co-ordinate the various voluntary bodies in and around Dundalk and Louth that deal with mental health issues.
“The whole Seanad election system needs to be reformed,” said Mary. “We vote in the President, our TDs, so why not the upper house as well.
“It was stated that E20 million would be saved by abolishing the Seanad. But this figure was just plucked out of the air. It is more likely to be E4 million.”
“The staff still have to be moved. So there are many things that have not been accounted for.”
Mary believes there is a widespread knowledge and comprehensive set of skills amongst the senators whos scruntinise bills and add amendments to them before they become law. It is a vital contribution to the democratic process.
Her position as Labour spokesperson on disability has inspired her to co-ordinate the voluntary health groups in Louth. She has helped set up a mental health forum and a steering committee who meet every month. Included are representatives from Shine, Grow, Dundalk Outscources, Dundalk clergy, gardai, students, and myself. In September they will organise a mental Health Week.