Shane Ross

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Making the Seanad More Relevant

Posted on: May 6th, 2004

Senators complain that they receive too little media coverage, but this carries a message for the Seanad.

We should examine the reasons we in the Seanad do not get the sort of coverage we would like to get. It is not the case that the House does not do important work, because it is involved in important and effective work.

But the media does not necessarily cover matters that are important or bodies that work effectively. The media is governed by other, more immediate, considerations.

RTE reports the proceedings of the House, but I contend that it does so because it has to cover us, rather than because it wants to cover us. It broadcasts Seanad reports late at night because nobody is watching late at night. RTE is obliged to cover the Dáil and Seanad because it has a public service obligation.

In the context of the ongoing reform of the Seanad, we should examine the possibility of making the House more relevant, more appealing and more immediate in its powers and effect.