Ireland is a highly centralised unitary state and thus lacks the standard 'federal' justification of a Senate as a place in which the interests of the constituent states are represented. Nonetheless, Ireland has a Senate under the 1937 Constitution, comprising three types of senator: those indirectly elected from 'vocational' panels, those directly elected by graduates of the two traditional universities and those nominated by the Prime Minister. Its powers are extremely weak. Several attempts to reform the Irish Senate have failed, in large part as a result of an unwillingness of the political elite to change a situation in which politicians who are unsuccessful in election to the lower house can find a political home pending the next election. There does however remain a potential future role for the Senate - if it were to be directly elected and given important jobs to do such as the oversight of EU legislation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Political Science and International Relations