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Voting in the Seanad Election

Did you know that as a graduate of UCD you are entitled to vote in the Seanad election? We recently discovered that of those eligible to vote only 36,293 actually did so in 2016. Quite poor really, when you consider UCD have over 239,000 alumni alone. So we’ve put together some information on what the Seanad is, who our senators are and most importantly, how you as a UCD graduate can register to vote.

What does the Seanad do?

Seanad Éireann’s main remit is the revising of legislation sent to it by Dáil Éireann. In addition to this, the Seanad can also initiate legislation. However, under the constitution, the Seanad is restricted in that it cannot initiate Money bills and can only make recommendations but not amendments to such bills. Nonetheless, the Seanad still plays a pivotal role in Irish politics. One such example is that of the Control of Economic Activities (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018 recently launched by independent senator, Francis Black. The bill which seeks to prohibit the import and sale of goods, services and natural resources originating in illegal settlements in occupied territories is due to be debated in the Seanad over the next couple of weeks with a view to the bill being enacted as legislation.

Who are the NUI senators?

As of 2016, the three senators elected by the NUI constituency are:

- Senator Michael McDowell

- Senator Rónán Mullen

- Senator Alice-Mary Higgins

How are members of the Seanad elected?

The Seanad is composed of 60 members, 3 of which are directly elected by graduates of the National University of Ireland (including UCD). When the Dáil has resolved an election to the Seanad is held within 90 days. In this time, NUI graduates who are registered to vote are sent out a ballot paper and a declaration of identity by post. The voter then completes the declaration of identity form in the presence of a witness before completing the ballot paper by marking their order of preference of candidates. Both the declaration of identity and the ballot paper are then sent back to the returning officer. However, you will only be sent these documents if you are registered to vote. So it’s important to do so!

How can I register to vote?

As a graduate of UCD you can register to vote in the next Seanad election by filling out the Registration Claim Form and returning it to National University of Ireland, 49 Merrion Square, Dublin 2. Alternatively, you can scan the completed form and send it to records@nui.ie.

 
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