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Saturday, 27 September 2014

Seanad Bye-Election 10th October 2014 Blogpost 3

Continuing on my research Seanad Bye-Elections from Seanad Bye-Election 10th October 2014 and Seanad Bye-Election 10th October 2014 Continued.

Seems all Fine Gael (and Labour) had to do was stonewall efforts to find out why John McNulty stood there in front of a High Court Judge and Seanad clerk and said nothing as a 6 day state board appointment was used as on his nomination papers, for a fews days (Monday to Friday) until the ballots were being sent out on the Friday the 26th of September and then it was tool late to stop the election.


The Seanad Returning Officer will sit for the ruling on nominations on Monday 22 September 2014. Ballot papers will be issued on Friday 26 September 2014. News - Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government

Final adjudicated by a High Court Judge as in Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) Act, 1947, Section 38.

The judicial referee at completion of panels.

38.—(1) The President of the High Court or some other judge of the High Court nominated by him shall attend at the completion of the panels and there sit and act as judicial referee.

(2) The Seanad returning officer may, on his own motion, and shall, if so requested by any person whose name is on a provisional sub-panel for the time being under consideration or by the agent of any such person, refer to the judicial referee any question arising during the completion of the panels in relation to any nomination paper, the nomination of any person to a panel, the qualifications of any person for a panel, the statement by the Seanad returning officer of such qualification, or any other matter connected with the provisional panels.

(3) The judicial referee shall there and then decide and announce his decision on every question referred to him under this section by the Seanad returning officer.

(4) The decision of the judicial referee on any question referred to him under this section by the Seanad returning officer shall be final and conclusive and shall not be open to review by any court.

(5) A question may be referred to the judicial referee under this section whether the Seanad returning officer has or has not himself given a decision thereon.


Seanad Electoral Panel Members Act 1954 Chapter V Disqualification of Candidate 4

Chapter V

Death or Disqualification of Candidate.

79A. (1) Where, before the latest time for receiving nominations at a Seanad bye-election, a nominating body satisfies the Seanad returning officer that a person nominated by the body has died or become disqualified for membership of Seanad Éireann, the Seanad returning officer shall forthwith cancel such nomination and thereupon it shall be deemed never to have been made.

(2) Where, before the latest time for receiving nominations at a Seanad bye-election, the Seanad returning officer is satisfied that a person nominated by members of the Oireachtas has died or become disqualified for membership of Seanad Éireann, the Seanad returning officer shall forthwith cancel such nomination and thereupon it shall be deemed never to have been made.

(3) In the counting of the votes cast at a Seanad bye-election, all the preferences recorded for a candidate of whose death (whether before or after the ruling upon nomination) the Seanad returning officer is satisfied before the close of the poll shall be disregarded and regard shall be had in lieu thereof to the next available preferences.

(4) Subject to the foregoing provisions of this section, the fact that a candidate has (whether before or after the close of the poll) died or become disqualified for membership of Seanad Éireann shall not invalidate or prejudice the nomination of the candidate or any preferences recorded for him and, if he is elected, his election shall not be invalidated by reason of his having so died or become disqualified, but he shall be deemed to have vacated his membership of Seanad Éireann immediately after his said election thereto.”

Its seems even death nor disqualification cannot stop the process once the ballots are sent out.

Gavan Reilly political correspondent for TodayFM yesterday reported on the Fine Gael party arrangements to oversee the voting next week in Leinster house. Listen to his report.



It could just be about making sure every member votes and convenient paperwork but it may also put pressure on people in a supposed secret ballot.

CONSTITUTION OF IRELAND
SEANAD ÉIREANN
18

5 Every election of the elected members of Seanad Éireann shall be held on the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote, and by secret postal ballot.


Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) Act, 1947
Method of voting for Oireachtas sub-panel casual vacancy.


73.—(1) Every person entitled to vote at an election under this Chapter shall be entitled to vote at that election in the following and in no other manner, that is to say, by marking and returning by registered or ordinary post to the Seanad returning officer the ballot paper sent to him under section 72 of this Act together with the form of declaration of identity similarly sent to him therewith duly made and completed by him.


S.I. No. 231/2007 - Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) (Prescribed forms) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2007 describe voting by having a witness sign your declaration of identity and a local to your address authorised officer checking that all the forms are correct,

1. An authorised person is any one of the following:-

(a) the Seanad Returning Officer,

(b) the Clerk of Dáil Éireann,

(c) the Clerk-Assistant of Seanad Éireann,

(d) the Clerk-Assistant of Dáil Éireann,

(e) the County Registrar of the county or city in which is situate the premises the address of which is stated on the envelope (hereinafter referred to as "the outer envelope") addressed to the elector containing the ballot papers, the ballot paper envelope and the envelope addressed to the Seanad Returning Officer,

So postal votes for Seanad still require you to go to authorised person to oversee the process?

How the Seanad is elected Guidebook

The voter, after completing a declaration of identity in the presence of an authorised person, marks on each paper the order of their choice of candidates and returns the ballot papers by registered post to the returning officer.

In the same Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) Act, (1947) there is the,
THIRD SCHEDULE.

Rules for Conduct of Seanad Bye-election for Oireachtas Sub-panel Casual Vacancy.

but it doesn't mention the voting process of Seanad Bye-elections as distinct to that of Seanad general elections.

It doesn't seem to mention authorised person in S.I. No. 148/1949 - Seanad Bye-Elections (Panel Members) (Prescribed Forms) Regulations, 1949. as it does in Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) Act,1947 First Schedule 8(2) and S.I. No. 231/2007 - Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) (Prescribed forms) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2007.

FIRST SCHEDULE.

Rules for Conduct of Seanad General Elections.

8 Procedure in connection with marking of ballot papers. (2) For the purposes of this Rule, each of the following persons shall be an authorised person:
(a) the Seanad returning officer,

Gerard Craughwell the independent candidate who has allowed us to see into this usually unchallenged process received and shared the details a Fine Gael party internal memo on voting.



One has to distinguish between the witness for the 'Declaration of Identity' (the whip?) and the authorised person who checks the process. The authorised person will probably be the a Clerk of the Oireachtas.

I can find no law against 'compelling any person to vote or refrain from voting' in relation to Seanad Elections as there is with Dail or the Local Elections.

Laws are so complex its hard to know exactly which law applies, or which is reffering to which and there seems to be difference between General Election laws and regulations and or gaps in Bye-elections laws. (eg no need to list nominators in Bye-Election).


S.I. No. 231/2007 - Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) (Prescribed forms) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2007

Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) Act, 1954

Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) Act, 1947

S.I. No. 148/1949 - Seanad Bye-Elections (Panel Members) (Prescribed Forms) Regulations, 1949.

S.I. No. 91/1954 - Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) (Prescribed Forms) Regulations, 1954.

S.I. No. 68/2002 - Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) (Prescribed Forms) (Amendment) Regulations, 2002

S.I. No. 283/2009 - Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) (Prescribed Forms) (Amendment) Regulations 2009"
-
S.I. No. 297/1995 - Local Elections Regulations, 1995.
ELECTORAL ACT, 1992


Fine Gael and Labour
Fine Gael queueing to out do each other in praise of John McNulty.

Senator Maurice Cummins
"two excellent people" "the two people concerned are very well qualified to be members of that board"
Senator Paul Coghlan
"two eminent appointments" "skills and experience of these two people"
Senator Martin Conway
"eminently qualified"

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys)
"considerable business experience"

Minister of State Dara Murphy on Saturday with Brian Dowling on RTE Radio 1
"outstanding candidate" "excellent candidate"
Minister of Justice Frances Fitzgerald
"capable candidate" "a very fine candidate and a very fine member of the Senate."
Minister of State Joe McHugh on Highland Radio,
"a good person, as good guy, a good man" "he had the credentials"

Labour
Labour is doing it best to tell us that state board appointments ( for positioning a Seanad candidate) are an internal Fine Gael party matter.

Minister of Education Jan O'Sullivan That's not my decision. I don't know anything about him other than what I've read in the papers

Minister of Education Jan O'Sullivan Is McNulty a good candidate? Jan: "That's not my decision. I don't know anything about him other than what I've read in the papers."

Except she is supposed to be voting in a Seanad Bye-Election, it is her decision.

Tanaiste and Minister and Social Protection Joan Burton

The nomination is a matter for the Fine Gael Party, its leader and its members. It is not a matter for the Labour Party but rather it is for Fine Gael.

Kevin Humpreys TD on the Week on Polticis RTE 1.

I will vote for John McNulty "its tradition".

Ciara Conway TD in told the Irish Times
“It’s not sitting comfortably. It’s not the way that we should be doing politics,”

but will vote for him?

Micahel McNamara told Clare FM.
unless John McNulty proves his credentials he won't be voting for him.

Is he going to ignore the credentials listed beisde John McNulty's name on his ballot paper and vote for him?

Standard Practice
Joan Burton Dail 25th September 2014.
the party would have nominated people to fill the vacancy. We are talking about a standard practice relating to the filling of casual vacancies and with the Seanad, the vacancy would lie with the party from which the vacancy arose.

Is that officially the rule?

My first blog on this looked at the history of coalition non-competition in Seanad Bye-Elections.

Fine Gael's Seanad Candidate search timeline

Constituency branches were invited to propose people for the Seanad in June.

Samantha Long was asked by her constituency group to write a letter in June she said on the RTE Radio Marian Finuncane Show.

John McNulty The county executive forwarded his name, along with some others, following a meeting in July.

Fionnann Sheahan explained the timeline that was issued on Drivetime at 1hour 19 minutes.

Fine Gael annual pre winter Oireachtas sessions think-in was held in Fota on Cork on the 11th where Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald was announced by Kenny as chair of Fine Gael electoral strategy committee. Kenny begins to plan for Fine Gael’s general election campaign.

Heather Humphreys appointed John McNulty to the board of IMMA on the 12th of September.

The Fine Gael Executive Council met in Galway on the Saturday the 13th and were told by a party official that was problem of qualification with the three women said to be on the shortlist.

Fine Gael members were told that John McNulty had been selected on the 17th and his name was published in the Independent on 18th of September by Fionnan Sheahan. Businessman who lost council election to run for the Seanad.

Fine Gael (national) Executive Council nominations 2014 on page 10 of Fine Gael's Ard Fheis Clar (Annnual Conference Programme) but who was elected ?

List I have so far. Fine Gael (national) Executive Council list.

Fine Gael's Promises on State board appointments
Fine Gael Streamlining Government 2008
Transparent Appointments

Fine Gael will establish a new transparent system for political appointments.

In order to achieve this objective, Fine Gael will introduce legislation requiring all ministerial appointments to be laid before the relevant Oireachtas Committee stating the name of the appointee and their qualifications for the appointment. Chairpersons and CEOs will require confirmation of their appointment by the Dáil and will have to appear before the committee for interview prior to confirmation. It will be at the discretion of Oireachtas Committees to decide if they want to hold hearing to scrutinise other appointees.

Fine Gael - Reinventing Government 2010.

32. Vacancies for all paid directorships on public boards will be advertised on the website of the Public Appointments Service, and short-lists
of qualified applicants will be presented to Ministers.

Labour Election Manifesto 2011.
End political cronyism by opening up positions on state boards to all qualified candidates, and require appointments to be scrutinised by the Dáil

end the system whereby appointments to state boards are used as a form of political patronage

publicly advertise all vacancies

Oireachtas committees will consider the suitability of nominated candidates, including having candidates appear before the committee, and it will be a condition
of appointment that board members appear before committees as required.

Labour’s Plan for Reforming Politics, Government and Public Sector 2011

Programme for Government
We will take steps to ensure that all State boards have at least 40% of each gender.


Can not find master set of rules for appointment to state boards, where are they written down? State board code of Practice doesn't have much detail on the appointment process. Many of the state board vacancy notices share the same language, "In making any Board appointments, the Minister will not necessarily be confined to those who make such expressions of interest".

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