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I'm not sold on the idea of having different cycles for Dail and Senate elections - at the moment they are broadly synchronised and take place whenever a Government loses the confidence of the Dail or at most, after 5 years. Sometimes that could be within a few months of the last election.

However, if you were to use provincial constituencies, the numbers are manageable regardless of whether you use STV or list, and regardless of whether 30 or 60 seats are on offer.

At the moment the Senate election takes place some weeks after the Dail election.  It thus becomes a second chance saloon for politicians who didn't make it into the Dail - which tends to devalue the Senate.  I would have both elections on the same day and force politicians to decide which chamber they wanted to be elected to.

The constitution also allows the Taoiseach to appoint up to two Senators to his cabinet (although that facility  has been rarely used partly because the Government is formed weeks before the senate is elected). That could be expanded if the Senate were to become a more truly representative body and both bodies were elected on the same day.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Mar 9th, 2011 at 08:43:08 PM EST
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