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2022 Seanad by-election

  • 16-02-2022 4:54pm
    Administrators Posts: 53,342 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭

    Normally I wouldn't care much about this, but this one is a bit more interesting due to the presence of Hazel Chu on the ballot. Poll closes end of March.

    It'll be pretty much exactly a year since her charade of running as an independent, she's back now running for the GP. Do we think she's the favourite for this?

    What makes it interesting is what does she do if she loses. That'd be 2 Seanad defeats, and being overlooked for the Eoghan Murphy by-election last year. Does she have a future in the GP?

    Personally I hope pretty much anyone else wins, I was really put off by her show of careerism last year.



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,359 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell

    Careerism - is that not endemic within the political classes?

    She could actually believe in her politics and wishes to proclaim them in to a larger world. She ran the last time as an independent as her party did not agree to her running as a Green candidate because they had an agreement with the other Gov parties. That surely does not affect her political beliefs.

    Perhaps our Minister for Health might answer why he moved from independent to PD to FF if that was not driven by careerism.

  • Administrators Posts: 53,342 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭awec

    I thought her attempts were pretty egregious, happy to embarrass and hurt her own party publicly when they didn't select her. If everyone in a party just went on a solo run every time they didn't what they wanted the place would be a mess.

    What made it worse was she had no chance of winning, she was happy to make her party look weak for her own personal vanity project.

    I also find her politics to be completely empty, it's all about identity with her.

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 90,684 Mod ✭✭✭✭Capt'n Midnight

    If she's expecting to tap into green votes then so are at least three other candidates.

    The Green Party executive chose not to select a candidate for the byelection caused by former Labour Party Senator Ivana Bacik’s election to the Dáil last year.

    ex Green MPE Patricia McKenna is also running and former Green Party councillor Sadhbh O’Neill will run as an independent candidate.

    and Paula Roseingrave, who received over 2,000 first-preference votes as a Green Party candidate in the 2020 general election, is standing as an independent candidate.

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,359 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell

    I think there are far to many candidates - nearly as many as will vote.

    Whatever about scrapping the Seanad, I think the whole voting scheme needs to be re-thought out from scratch. If councillors and TDs get a vote, it should be weighted by the number of first preferences they got in the election that got them elected - and substituted councillors therefore would not get any vote. University seats should be scrapped - and either be replaced by some other more representative electorate or just voted by the sitting TDs.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,501 ✭✭✭Brussels Sprout

    I had a bit of time for Chu in the past. I could see the disgusting abuse she was getting on twitter and she did break a few barriers by becoming Lord Mayor. That Seanad run changed everything for me though. She burned all of her political capital within her party and for what? A no-hoper run for the Seanad! If nothing else it showed that she had terrible political judgement. I think she got the highest vote in the country in the local elections in 2019 and must have thought that the rules of political gravity no longer applied to her. In the end she got 4.9% of the vote, more than 50% behind the FF candidate who was always going to be win anyway because of the vote pact.

    I'm glad that someone mentioned Stephen Donnelly because it was quite similar to his jump to FF - the moment where they truly revealed themselves. It was actually worse in a way because it was all downside and no upside for Chu. She burned her bridges within the party and failed spectacularly in an election that was barely covered in the media. At least Donnelly managed to sell his soul for a ministerial appointment.

    The amusing thing is that, had she not gone on that solo run, she probably would have been the Green Party candidate in the by-election last year (an election that actually mattered and that wasn't rigged from the off). She probably wouldn't have won, since she represents a government party, but it would have raised her profile in the way that she so obviously craves.

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  • Administrators Posts: 53,342 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭awec

    I think "she must have thought that the rules of political gravity no longer applied to her" is fairly accurate. I think she has a high opinion of herself, but I would struggle to suggest she is a politician of any real substance. I don't see her ever making it to TD.

    If she loses this election I don't know where she goes. She'll surely leave the Greens, SocDems probably the likely destination. She has no hope as an Indy. She will hardly hang around as a councillor for long.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,501 ✭✭✭Brussels Sprout

    The full list of candidates:

    • Tom Clonan, former soldier, declared on 10 July 2021
    • Hugo MacNeill, former rugby player, declared on 21 July 2021
    • Gisèle Scanlon, Trinity College Dublin Graduate Students' Union President, declared on 21 July 2021
    • Ryan Alberto Ó Giobúin, sociology PhD researcher, declared on 21 September 2021
    • Ursula Quill, Bacik's former assistant and a Labour Party member
    • Ray Bassett, former diplomat, declared on 1 November 2021
    • Sadhbh O'Neill, academic at Dublin City University declared in November 2021
    • Eoin Barry, Labour Party member, declared in December 2021
    • Ade Oluborode, barrister, declared in January 2022.
    • Hazel ChuGreen Party councillor and former Lord Mayor of Dublin, declared in February 2022
    • Aubrey McCarthy, founder of the homelessness and rehabilitation charity Tiglin, declared on 10 February 2022
    • Patricia McKenna, former Member of the European Parliament for Dublin and Cathaoirleach of the People's Movement, declared on 12 February 2022
    • Maureen Gaffney
    • Michael McDermott
    • Abbas Ali O'Shea
    • Paula Roseingrave
    • Catherine Stocker


    I could see Chu getting the most first preferences with a low plurality of the vote (<25%) due to the large number of candidates and lack of any other stand out names in the field. I don't think she will win though due to not being that transfer-friendly.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,994 ✭✭✭✭retalivity

    The only thing better that Chu failing here would be MacNeill doing worse.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,381 ✭✭✭Yurt2

    I see Ray Bassett in there. Kooky former Irish Ambassador who wrote a paper for a Tory think-tank in the UK advocating Ireland leave the EU. Bojos Tory think-tank of choice with a very opaque funding model.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,195 ✭✭✭MrMusician18

    Between him and Chu, they have almost all of the public profile. Sadly, I think it's hard to see anyone but Chu winning here - given the constituency and the fact that she is by far the most recognisable candidate.

    The real fight here is for the wooden spoon between zero profile candidates and candidates that couldn't be more unsuited, like Bassett, to this constituency.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,301 ✭✭✭Snickers Man

    Yes. And judging by the number of times he is quoted in the Daily Express he is clearly conservative Britain's favourite Irish intellectual, assuming conservative Britain could be convinced that any such specimen as an Irish intellectual actually exists!

    In June last year he had an opinion column posted in the Daily Telegraph bearing the ridiculous oxymoronic headline "The case for an Irish Brexit is growing stronger" in which he assured readers that the Irish nation, nostalgic for the days of mass emigration, starvation and exclusion from decision making on sectarian grounds were only clamouring to come back into the bosom of the United Kingdom as dutiful and loyal subjects of the Anglosphere. (To be fair to Bassett, he used the term Irexit in his text. It was clearly some dopey subeditor/headline writer who thought that "Irish Brexit" made any sense.)

    It will be interesting to see how well Mr Bassett, one of the very few "fat-cat bureaucrats on over generous public-service pensions" that Brexiteers purport in general to despise, fares in a constituency representing the purest possible distillation of "traditional West Brit privilege".

    I look forward to ignoring him completely on my ballot paper!.

    Here's the article to which I referred. It's behind a pay wall but you can read an article a month for free if you wish.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,002 ✭✭✭Shelga

    I would have had no idea there was a Seanad by-election happening, were it not for all of the junk mail I'm receiving from candidates in the last few days. I still don't know how if works so will have to do my research, I'll definitely vote though.

    I haven't heard of any of them other than Chu, who I will not be voting for. She strikes me as highly self-serving and will jump on any "activism" bandwagon going- see her disgraceful comments about An Garda Siochana upon the unfortunate death of George Nkencho. This does not mean I think she deserves abuse of any kind, racist or otherwise.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    MacNeill did ok in the last Seanad election (4th in a 3 seater), and let's just say, has very big FG links..

    I wouldn't be surprised if he won.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,301 ✭✭✭Snickers Man

    Wow. I've just realised that it's 40 years since Hugo McNeill starred on the Irish rugby team that won the Triple Crown (when that was important) for the first time in 33 years. And there are Trinity graduates now who claim never to have heard of him??

    What DO they teach them in that place? 🙄

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 90,684 Mod ✭✭✭✭Capt'n Midnight

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    If I recall correctly, that's the lass who ran for the Greens in a Dublin Corporation election many years ago while still a student then headed away for a Summer job abroad before voting day, only, to her complete surprise, to find herself elected!

    If Chew or McNeill manage to win the seat then, like the O'Broin/Boylan partnership, the couple will be pulling in both a Senator's and a TD's salary - plus expenses by two. Not bad!

    Post edited by [Deleted User] on

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Older than you might imagine. Quite a lot of the younger TCD (and NUI) grads don't bother to register to vote in Seanad elections.

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 90,684 Mod ✭✭✭✭Capt'n Midnight


    It was a rhetorical question :)

    I'd imagine Patricia McKenna might have higher visibility for an older group but time will tell.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    She might indeed.

    But I suspect that many voters' memories of her wouldn't be particularly positive - I couldn't stand her! (Although the fact that she isn't Chu would be a massive plus!)

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,199 ✭✭✭troyzer

    Will probably end up voting for Clonan. His articles on security are pretty thought provoking and it's a perspective that's mostly absent within Irish politics with the exception of Gerard Craughwell and Cathal Berry.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 33,856 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato

    Fun fact - MacNeill's wife is 22 years younger than him!

    I like the cut of this guy's jib 😁

    Michael has dreamed of representing Trinity in the Seanad ever since this bye-election was called and he realised that getting 10 signatures on the nomination form was actually quite doable. Also, with 16 other candidates, it seemed everybody else was doing it and he didn’t want to feel left out.

    He is running on a loosely-assembled platform of abolishing the Seanad from within and being a voice for current students and the recently graduated who can’t seem to find any accommodation in Dublin because there’s too many hotels in the way. This group is mostly ineligible to vote in this election so it’s clearly something he believes in rather than a shrewd electoral strategy.

    Feckin' size of the ballot paper. They folded it into four, but it has to be folded into five to fit into the envelope... 🙄

    Life ain't always empty.

  • Registered Users Posts: 33,856 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato

    University seats should be scrapped - and either be replaced by some other more representative electorate or just voted by the sitting TDs.

    University senators (Ronan Mullen the glaring exception) have usually been the best senators.

    Life ain't always empty.

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,359 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell

    Well, yes - you might be right.

    However, the Senate needs reform of a fundamental nature. It is just a talking shop with no real place in our society or political firmament.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,501 ✭✭✭Brussels Sprout

    It's interesting that Citizen's Assemblies are used for all sorts of things (Many of which should just be legislated directly for by the Dail) however a really appropriate use for it would be a reimagining of the upper house. They could get political scientists in from all over the world to talk about the benefits of different ways of electing them them, what powers they should have and also if they are even needed. The Referendum to remove the Seanad was defeated for the most part not because people were happy to continue with the status quo but because they didn't think all of the other possibilities for the upper house had been explored. An assembly would be an ideal forum for that exploration.

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,359 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell

    That would be an excellent use of the Citizen's Assembly. They could also look at reimagining the Local Authorities while they are at it - judging by the RTE Investigates programme last night - political corruption at its finest exposed - and politicians doing nothing about it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 33,856 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato

    @Brussels Sprout Yes it would but having an emasculated senate, or no senate, suits the government and indeed the main opposition parties so it's not going to happen, turkeys don't usually vote for Christmas.

    Life ain't always empty.

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,359 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell

    That is the whole reason for using a Citizen's Assembly - it provides cover for politicians, and usually has come out with a recommendation acceptable to the general population. Currently the Senate is a home for wannabe politicians, failed politicians and retired politicians. It needs to be a place for normal people not driven by self aggrandisement and petty party political point scoring, but the public good - as perhaps the late Fergal Quinn was.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,501 ✭✭✭Brussels Sprout

    Playing Devil's Advocate here but do we actually want a strong Senate? The reason I ask is because the USA has a strong Senate and it's a factor in the constant partisan gridlock that they have over there where the stars need to align before they can pass any meaningful legislation.

    Are there any example of countries that have two strong houses of parliament where it doesn't end up in legislative gridlock?

    What should an Upper House be tasked with that cannot currently be done by the lower house?

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 25,252 Mod ✭✭✭✭Podge_irl

    I don't necessarily need/want the Seanad to be strong, but I do think it needs to be useful.

    I like the concept of an upper house elected differently with the panels - the logic being perhaps it brings more/different expertise and ensures that all (or at least more) views are considered in legislation. I'm not sure how well it is fulfilling that role mind you.

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  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 67,600 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    The Panels idea only works if the electorate is also from those sectors - as the nominating bodies will nominate anyone at the behest of the parties who then control the bulk of the electorate.