And they're off! There are 17 horses in the race to be the newest member of Seanad Éireann representing the University of Dublin aka TCD. This change is a result of political musical chairs following election of Labour's Ivana Bacik to Dáil Éireann on 8 July 2021 at a by-election in Dublin Bay South. You'd surely rather be in the Dáil if you're looking for more than a cosy sinecure. Quite apart from the fact that a TD's salary [€100,191] is a lot of Mars Bars more than a senator's [€70,168] It's been a bit over two years since I got my papers as Citizen Bob. One of the unexpected benefits of this change of status is that, for the first time this life, I get a vote in the Seanad's TCD Constituency being both a graduate [BA Natural Science 1977, me] and a citizen.
Since 1938, there has been space in the Seanad for 3 TCD representatives making a total of 22 incumbents, of some of whom you may have heard. Perhaps not [R] Ernest "Ovid" Alton Chair of Latin; 1938 TCD Senator and 1942-1952 TCD Provost. Currently, apart from Bacik, "we" are trusting David Norris [public egg multiprevs] and Lynn Ruane [good egg prev] to Do The Right Thing. I live a very retiring life up a bohereen in the hills, so the first I heard about the upcoming outing for Democracy was receiving a flyer in the post from one of the candidates. That was a clear and consoling indication that I was indeed on the electoral roll, having applied [you have to apply] at the very beginning of Coronarama. The following day there arrived another handful of densely packed information leaflets about prospective senators. Getting the postage paid by The Man is one of the perks of Democracy na Éireann. If I'd had m'ear to the ground in time, I might have thrun my hat in the ring as candidate #18.
And let's talk about flyers and costs. As of yesterday I've received 12 puffs from 12 of the candidates. All with the same return address - a PO Box in Blackrock. One of those was the only post we got that day, requiring Pete the Post to make a special detour up our lane. If they are all processed through the same [free to candidate!] delivery service. National post rate is €1.10 per item, so my delivery has cost someone 12 x 1.10 = €13. The electorate is about 70,000 people; some of who live abroad and will require higher stamp costs; but let's ignore that and fantasize about what the plain people of Ireland could better do with €900,000. My vote is for 3 starter homes for indigent TCD graduates. FFS - why not bundle all the guff into one envelope . . . or better still send PDFs to all of us.
Each of the candidates is asked to say what they do . . . perhaps to let voters estimate if they have spare capacity for the onerous job of being a Senator. In 2022 we have: Barrister x 2; Consultant; Councillor; Entrepreneur; Ex-ambassador; Journalist; Minority rep; PhD student x 3; Professor; Psychologist; Public Rep; Pychologist; Social worker; Writer. There is a link for a bigger statement of platform for each of them. I'll have to do a bit of reading here because, with one or two exceptions, I've never 'eard of 'em. Wikipedia has a more useful summary of what the Gang of 17 stand for. I can't in all conscience vote for the three clearly New Irish candidates [Ali, Chu, Oleborode] just to stick one to the patriarchy. It would also be silly-pedantic to reject the "Pychologist-writer" juSt becauSe thiS 'writer' is carelesS on the Spelinge. Help me out in the comments.