Europe

Seanad vote: Voting closes in Republic of Ireland referendums

  • 4 October 2013
  • From the section Europe
Irish Senate
Image caption The Seanad Éireann (Irish senate) is the upper house of the Irish Parliament

Voting has closed in the Republic of Ireland's Senate and Court of Appeal referendums.

The Seanad Éireann (Irish senate) is the upper house of the Irish Parliament and has existed for more than 90 years.

The current Irish government has said it costs too much to run and is no longer necessary in the democratic process.

Opponents want it retained and reformed, saying it plays an essential role in holding governments to account.

Seanad Éireann was established in 1922, just months after the foundation of what was then known as the Irish Free State.

The Seanad's powers and functions were originally modelled on the British House of Lords, providing a bicameral system of government where the upper house scrutinises and amends bills that originate mainly in the lower house.

It cannot block legislation passed by the Dáil (lower house) but it can delay it by up to three months. However, it has not used this power since 1964.

More than three million people were eligible to vote on whether or not to abolish the Seanad.

Voters were also asked to vote on whether or not to establish a Court of Appeal and other changes to the courts system.