Seanad urged to resist retaliation
The leader of the Seanad has urged senators to steer clear of retaliation or recrimination against the Government and its failed attempt to put them out of jobs.
As the triumphant politicians returned to the upper house for their first time since the abolition referendum was defeated, Senator Maurice Cummins said it was time to move on.
"Whilst the house are all satisfied with the outcome of the referendum, I hope that we won't have too much retaliation or recrimination about the campaign or individuals associated with it," said Mr Cummins of Fine Gael.
"It is my strong belief that with the mandate that we have received, we should now move on and get back to doing the valuable legislative work that the people of Ireland expects us to do.
"It is my strong hope that we can do that in a professional, productive and collegiate manner that has been such a positive feature of this, the 24th Seanad."
As Taoiseach Enda Kenny confirmed plans to hold round table talks with opposition leaders, and members of the Seanad, about reforming the chamber, outspoken senator David Norris insisted now was not the time to gloat about the referendum result.
"We were a small number of groups and individuals who took on the machine, the Government machine which was so powerful, it underestimated the intelligence of the Irish people," Mr Norris said.
"This is not a moment for us to gloat or say, 'well done everybody'. This is a moment for us to say we have been given a vote of confidence.
"Our real obligation to them is to show them the valuable work we can do."
Almost 52% of the public voted to keep the Seanad and the No side emerged victorious with a margin of just 42,500 votes - resulting in what the Taoiseach called a "wallop".
Mr Kenny has now committed to reforming the upper house, which is home to 60 senators, to make it more effective within the political system.
He is to trawl through past reports on reform to determine how the Oireachtas can move forward.
Senator Katherine Zappone - the co-author of a piece of legislation currently before the upper house that allows Seanad reform without making changes to the Constitution - said she was "delighted" with the result of the public vote.
She said the Seanad is "crying out for reform".
"The people are waiting, the people are watching and the people want change now," she said.
One of the biggest bones of contention regarding the Seanad in its current form is the fact the general public has little to no say in the election process.
The Quinn-Zappone Bill proposes opening up Seanad elections to the 3.1 million-strong electorate.
A reformed upper house under the legislation would have a 50:50 balance of men and women, and would also grant additional powers for legislative scrutiny.
The Constitution currently states that senators have no final say over new laws passed in the Oireachtas.
While they do have the power to delay legislation by up to 90 days, the last time the Seanad used these powers was in 1964.
The Taoiseach has not ruled out referring the issue to the Constitutional Convention, which could result in another referendum to decide the fate of the Seanad.