Galway city has more people eligible to vote for the NUI panel for Seanad Éireann than has Dublin or Cork, while County Galway tops the other 25 counties in the State in a same category.
The NUI Register of Electors shows that Galway city has 3.81 per cent of all Seanad voters, coming in at first place ahead of Dublin (3.63 per cent ) and Cork (2.98 ). County Galway, at 2.74 per cent, comes in at fourth place.
That said, breaking down the percentages into figures shows that of County Galway’s population of 159,256, only 4,365 are given the right to vote for the NUI panel.
On a town by town basis this means that of Ballinalsoe’s 6,299 people, only 790 can vote; 267 of Athenry’s population of 3,205 can vote; 557 from Tuam’s 6,885; 290 from the Loughrea population of 4,532; 213 of Oranmore’s 3,513; and 62 of Clifden’s 1,497.
While Galway may enjoy the best representation in terms of numbers who can vote in the Seanad elections, the above figures’ contrasting population with eligible voters only serves to highlight how undemocratic and elitist Seanad Éireann notorious voting system is.
It is a case that nationally, only 2.2 per cent of the population can vote in the NUI Seanad Election as opposed to almost 75 per cent of the population in the recent General Election.
The figures have been brought to light by Seanad election candidate Peter Mooney who is calling for a complete reform of the Seanad voting system.
“This voting system is unfair and exclusive and the Seanad election process should be open up to all the electorate and held on the same day as the General Election,” Mr Mooney said. “Australia provides a perfect model. Its Senate is elected by the entire population on the same day as the House of Representatives.”
Mr Mooney also feels there could also be a special constituency to allow emigrants to vote.
“The original idea of the Senate was that it should be a forum for civil society organisations,” he said. “The political parties subverted this intention by making the Senate an annex to the Dáil where prospective Dáil candidates would be provided with the resources to resuscitate or initiate their Dáil careers.”