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National University of Ireland Seanad Éireann and Convocation Elections



The Irish Constitution, Bunreacht na hÉireann, Article 18(4) provides that the National University of Ireland and Dublin University (Trinity) elect three members of Seanad each. The Constitution was amended in 1979 to allow for legislation whereby the university constituencies could include other third level institutions and the election would be "...of so many members of Seanad Éireann as may be fixed by law in substitution for an equal number of the members to be elected..." pursuant to Article 18(4)(1) - to date no further legislation has been_ enacted.

Seanad Elections take place within 90 days of the dissolution of Dáil Éireann, and is strictly a postal vote. Presuming that more than three candidates are nominated, ballot papers are issued to all registered graduates. The current Seanad Éireann Register contains the names of 96,382 electors.

The current NUI Senators in Seanad Éireann are:

  • Senator Feargal Quinn

  • Senator Rónán Mullen

  • Senator John Crown



"every person who is a citizen of Ireland and has received a degree (other than an honorary degree) in the National University of Ireland, and has attained the age of 18 years, shall be entitled to be registered as an elector in the register of electors for the National University constituency" (Seanad Electoral (University Members) Act, 1937 s.7(1)).

To be eligible to vote in the Seanad Election (NUI Constituency), a graduate's name must be on the NUI Seanad Éireann Register of Electors. Registration Claim Forms are issued to graduates at time of conferring, but a graduate may reques a form at any time, or download one from

NUI Graduates (who are otherwise eligible) who return completed Registration Claim Forms to the NUI Office by 26th February in any given year, will be listed in the NUI Seanad Éireann Register to be published on 1st June of that year.

Convocation of the University consists of the Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor, the Members of Senate, the Professors and Lecturers of the University, and the graduates of the University.

The Powers of Convocation, as set out below:

a) To elect a person to be Chancellor of the University in succession to the present or any subsequent Chancellor;

b) To elect its own Chairman, who shall, in the absence of the Chancellor, be entitled to preside at its meetings;

c) To elect eight of its own Members as its representatives on the Senate (four of whom shall be women and four men);

d) To discuss and pronounce an opinion on any matter whatsoever relating to the University, including any matters referred to it by the Senate;

e) To make from time to time Regulations for governing its proceedings, subject to the provisions of the Charter and of the Statutes, and to the Regulations of the University;

f) To make representations to the Senate on any matter affecting the University.

There are two Convocation Elections - the election of Chancellor of the National University of Ireland and the election of eight members of the Senate of the National University of Ireland. The relevant university statutes were revised in 1989 to the effect that any graduate who wishes to vote in a Convocation election must apply for a voting paper in writing. (At the time of election, forms are made available to facilitate graduates who may wish to apply for a vote.) The Election of a Chancellor takes place when a vacancy arises in the Chancellorship. On the resignation of Dr. Garret FitzGerald, Dr Maurice Manning was elected Chancellor of the University at the Election Meeting of Convocation on 12th March 2009; the election of eight members of the NUI Senate takes place every five years, and under the provisions of the Universities Act, 1997, must elect four women and four men. At the Election Meeting in October 2007, the following persons were elected to the NUI Senate for term of office expiring on 31st October 2012:

Clíona de Bhaldraithe Marsh
Tommy Francis
John Hurley
Maurice Manning (elected Chancellor, 12 March 2009)
Seán Ó Coileáin
Mary O'Riordan
Linda O'Shea Farren
Bernadine O'Sullivan

NUI contact details:
49 Merrion Square, Dublin 2

Tel: (01) 439 2424
Fax: (01) 439 2477