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Ah, that most arcane of institutions, the Irish Senate (Seanad) has an election a month or two after every parliamentary election. This is mostly because the Seanad is a talking shop with little power designed to bring specialist views to legislation to complement the generalist views of the lower house. That's the theory anyway. Anyway for anachronistic reasons there are "University seats". Trinity (my alma mater) gets 3 while the NUI, which has 4 universities, gets 3 as well.

The....er....selection of candidates is rather interesting.


David Norris is the most popular and has been senator for years, we expect him to top the poll and also eventually become president of Ireland. I won't however be voting for him as he does not need my vote.

Ivana Bacik is a sitting senator and has impeccable liberal credentials but there's no way in hell she'd ever get my vote (I have my reasons, and no I don't know her personally, but know lots of people who do, and that's why).

Des O'Malley's daughter is running. Fuck off back to Limerick you reactionary right wing cow.

Mark Coleman is running. Now this is someone I used to know personally, who when I knew him, was a nice bloke with rather right wing views, who has turned into a full-on Pat Robertson type self-importance arsehole fascist (no really) with the years. No vote for you Mark.

Bart Connolly lists his occupation as "housewife, science writer, community activist" - I like the sound of this. Sean Barrett is a right wing economics lecture. He was also the junior dean (head of fining students for having parties in rooms) for years. He is a grade A prick. I know of several students who had him barge into their room while they were half dressed or whatever and start shouting at them for no good reason. Do NOT vote for this asshat.

Francis Donnelly (company director), Karin Dubsky (no occupation listed), Maeve Cox (devilling barrister) - no idea who these are. Jeffrey Dudgeon, human rights campaigner, no idea who this is, same goes for Dermot Frost (IT specialist).

Then we have Maurice Gueret, a medic who writes columns, apparently. Robin Hanan calls himself a social justice advocate and I've heard good things about him. Rosaleen McDonagh is a Traveller Activist and Playwright and will be getting my Number 1 preference (followed by a 2 for Norris).

Tony Williams is Shane Ross's sidekick (Ross used to hold the seat) and is likely to take it over from him. There are 3 or 4 others I've never heard of too, two more lawyers and a youth worker.

Anyway I think a traveller representative in the Seanad would really make a difference. She's also done a fair bit of work, apparently, for gay rights and other equality-related issues - and so is obviously not the bigotted right wing catholic that many of her community can be.

So there you go. All you never wanted to know about the Irish Seanad. Just don't ask me to explain how the rest of them get elected or my eyes will bleed.

One bloke on politics.ie said: "Wow, all the self-important clowns in the country in the same place". Response from another poster: "You highly underestimate this country's ability to produce self-important clowns".
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