Oireachtas of The Irish Free State - Seanad Éireann - Composition and Elections

Composition and Elections

Members of Seanad Éireann by session The 1922 version of the Constitution provided for a Seanad of 60 members directly elected. Members would serve 12 year terms, with one quarter of the house elected every three years. The members would be elected under the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote in a single, nationwide, 15 seat constituency.

However, to get the house started, the body's initial membership would be appointed by Dáil and the President of the Executive Council. To complicate matters even further, after the holding of the first direct election, the constitution was amended by the Constitution (Amendment No. 6) Act, passed on 23 July 1928, so that the final three elections to the Seanad occurred by a method of indirect election. Therefore, in the 5 elections to the Seanad to occur before its abolition, 3 different systems were used.

It was originally required that membership of the Seanad be limited to those who were over 35 who would serve 12 year terms. The Constitution (Amendment No. 8) Act, passed on 25 October 1928, reduced the minimum age of eligibility for Seanad members to 30 and the Constitution (Amendment No. 7) Act, passed on 30 October 1928, reduced the term of office of senators to 9 years.

Today incarnations of the modern Seanad are given a new number after each senatorial election. Thus, the current Seanad elected in 2007 is known as the 'Twenty-third Seanad'. This was not the custom during the Irish Free State because the Seanad was elected in stages and therefore considered to be in permanent session. However, as a gesture of continuity with its predecessor, the first Seanad elected after 1937 is numbered as the 'Second Seanad'. The Seanad, despite the occurrence of three senatorial elections before its abolition, is considered to have been a single Seanad for the duration of its existence and is thus referred for that whole period as the 'First Seanad'.

Read more about this topic:  Oireachtas Of The Irish Free State, Seanad Éireann

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