Dooley Opposes Removing County Councillors’ Say In Seanad Elections

A former Clare TD, who lost out in his bid for a Seanad seat, has expressed his opposition to opening up the entire upper house election to a public vote.

Fianna Fáil’s Timmy Dooley had been hoping for a swift return to the Oireachtas, after losing his Dáil seat two months ago, but is one of a number of high profile casualties of this week’s Seanad election.


Seanad Éireann acts as the upper house in the Oireachtas, scrutinising legislation passed in the Dáil and, in many ways, holding TDs to account.

Unlike the Dáil, though, its 60 seats are not directly elected by the general public.

Eleven get nominated by the Taoiseach, six by graduates of Trinity College Dublin and the National University of Ireland and the remaining 43 from vocational panels, which include county councillors.

This has come under fire with many advocating Seanad reform, saying the days have ended where so few should elect so many.

After losing his Dáil seat in February, Fianna Fáil’s Timmy Dooley had been hoping to return to Leinster House as a Senator but was eliminated after the 21st count of the Industrial and Commercial Panel in the Seanad elections last evening.

But while he admits more seats should be opened up to public vote, Dooley has come out in opposition to removing the rights of county councillors to fill a certain quota.

His party mate, Lahinch hotelier Michael Vaughan was also in the running for a Seanad seat but was knocked out after the fifth count yesterday.

Unlike Dooley, Vaughan has questioned the current Seanad setup.

He feels industry experts are still needed in the upper house but feels it’s impossible for unelected representatives to row against the system and gain a seat.