**This information relates to ALL SCHM graduates from 2005 and all BComm graduates from 1995 – 2004**
I am contacting you in my position as a member of Seanad Éireann, elected by the graduates of the NUI constituency.
While I was running for the Seanad it became apparent to me that the majority of NUI graduates were not involved in the electoral process, and indeed in many cases did not actually know that they had voting rights. As a result, I estimate that approximately just one quarter of eligible NUI voters actually took part in the election in 2011.
As you may know, when I ran for the Seanad I promised that I would work for its reform. Following the Seanad referendum and a decision of the people to maintain the Seanad we are attempting to inject some momentum into that process.
I welcome the statements by An Taoiseach that he will now consider various suggestions for Seanad reform. As you may know, I myself have proposed a comprehensive Seanad electoral reform Bill http://www.oireachtas.ie/documents/bills28/bills/2013/2113/b2113s.pdf .
It is quite possible however that we will see a more limited reform in the term of the current Oireachtas, probably one that will extend the NUI electorate to all third level graduates.
I welcome this. It will be a small step along the road to my goal of having a nationally elected Seanad picked on the basis of universal franchise.
It is important that we do our best to inform our NUI graduates that they have and may have a greater role in the election of the forthcoming Seanad. To this end, I would be grateful if you could bring to the attention of your members the steps which must be taken if they are to become registered electors of Seanad Éireann.
Attached is a list of the eligible institutions and also the relevant dates for smaller institutions, such as Shannon College, of which only graduates from a particular time period are eligible voters.
Ensuring registration for next Seanad Éireann election:
1. If you received ballot papers and election correspondence for the last Seanad Éireann NUI election (April 2011) and you are still at the same postal address – do nothing; you are registered.
2. If you thought you were previously registered but did not receive ballot papers and election correspondence in the last Seanad Éireann NUI election (April 2011) then you need to update your details to ensure you are accurately registered for the next election. To do this, you need to complete the ‘Seanad Éireann Registration Claim/Graduate Record Update’. These forms are available in English http://www.nui.ie/elections/docs/GradUpdateENG.pdf or as Gaeilge http://www.nui.ie/elections/docs/gradUpdateIR.pdf on the NUI website.
3. If you have never been registered then you also need to complete the same forms as above i.e. the ‘Seanad Éireann Registration Claim/Graduate Record Update’, in English http://www.nui.ie/elections/docs/GradUpdateENG.pdf or as Gaeilge http://www.nui.ie/elections/docs/gradUpdateIR.pdf
Completed and signed registration forms must be sent to the NUI. They can be sent by email email@example.com; post (49, Merrion Square, Dublin 2) or fax (01 439 2466). The deadline for receipt of completed forms to ensure inclusion in the 2014 Register is 26th February 2014.
There is one special aspect about the election to Seanad Éireann. It is the only forum at present where Irish people living abroad can have a say in the selection of any members of our Oireachtas and as such I think it would be of particular interest to your emigrant alumni.
Thank you for your support in the election, the Seanad referendum and I remain available for any suggestions that you may have for issues you would wish to have raised in the Oireachtas.
Senator John Crown.
Independent Senator John Crown