Some years ago the former Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Ken Whitaker, stood for election to the educational panel of the Seanad and he got what was considered to be a derisory vote. He had been a distinguished Member in 1981 having been appointed by the then Taoiseach, Garret FitzGerald. He was not re-appointed but he felt later that he would still like to serve in the House. He stood for the panel and did not get elected or even get a competitive vote.
I wonder what that tells us about the House because Dr. Whitaker was awarded a somewhat token but significant award as the greatest living Irishman of the 20th century a little later. If someone who is awarded such an extraordinarily elevated status by an independent panel is unable to be elected to this House of 60 Members, it does not necessarily mean there is something wrong with the election of the House but one of the two bodies is unrepresentative. (more…)