Cultural and Educational Panel

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The Cultural and Educational Panel (Irish: An Rolla Saíochta agus Oideachais) is one of five Vocational Panels which together elect 43 of the 60 members of Seanad Éireann, the upper house of the Oireachtas (the legislature of Ireland). The Cultural and Educational Panel elects five Senators, at least two of whom must come from the Oireachtas members' nominees and another three must come from the nominating bodies' nominees.


Senators for the Cultural and Educational Panel
Key to parties
Sen Election Senator
22nd 2002 Paschal Mooney
Ann Ormonde
Noel Coonan
Labhrás Ó Murchú
[note 1]
Brian Hayes
23rd 2007 Cecilia Keaveney
Alex White
Liam Twomey
24th 2011 Thomas Byrne
Deirdre Clune
[note 2]
John Gilroy
Michael Mullins
2014 Gerard Craughwell
25th 2016 Lorraine Clifford-Lee
Fintan Warfield
Kieran O'Donnell
Keith Swanick
Gabrielle McFadden

Note: The columns in this table are used only for presentational purposes, and no significance should be attached to the order of columns.

  1. ^ Resigned the Fianna Fáil whip on 7 July 2010, during the debate on the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Bill, rejoining on 23 November 2010.
  2. ^ Elected to the European Parliament in May 2014.


While Oireachtas members and city and county council members have a franchise for general elections for the Seanad, in by-elections it is confined to Oireachtas members.

2014 by-election

Fine Gael's Deirdre Clune resigned from the Seanad after been elected to the European Parliament for the South constituency at the 2014 European Parliament election. The by-election to fill the casual vacancy had 225 Oireachtas members as voters; nomination by nine members was required to be added to the ballot.

Gerard Craughwell, former president of the Teachers' Union of Ireland, put himself forward in August 2014 as an independent candidate, initially a symbolic gesture to protest against the usual practice of the government using its parliamentary majority to secure the election of its chosen candidate.[1] Craughwell secured nomination from members of the technical group and Fianna Fáil.[2]

On 12 September 2014, Heather Humphreys, the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht wrote to John McNulty, a businessman who had run unsuccessfully for Donegal County Council in the 2014 local elections, offering him a place on the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA); he accepted on 15 September, and before nominations closed on 18 September Fine Gael nominated him for the by-election to fill the Seanad vacancy.[3][4][5] Opposition politicians protested that McNulty's IMMA appointment was abusive and had been made solely to bolster his eligibility for the Cultural and Educational Panel; Humphreys took responsibility for the appointment and refused to state whether others had pressed her to make it.[6] McNulty resigned from the IMMA board on 25 September, stating its rules prohibited board members from running for election.[7] On 23 February 2016, in a televised debate before the 2016 general election, Enda Kenny appeared to concede for the first time that it was his decision to nominate McNulty to IMMA, later backtracking somewhat.[8]

On 30 September, McNulty unofficially withdrew from the by-election, stating that "to contest the election would be an ongoing distraction from the critical work of Government"; although his name remained on the ballot paper he requested that electors not vote for him.[9] Although many Fine Gael members voted for McNulty regardless, Craughwell won the election on 10 October 2014.[10]

Seanad by-election, 2014: Cultural and Educational Panel[10]
Party Candidate % 1st Pref Count 1 Count 2
Independent Gerard Craughwell 45.1 87 98
Fine Gael John McNulty 43.5 84 85
Sinn Féin Catherine Seeley 11.4 22
Electorate: 223   Valid: 193   Quota: 96.501   Turnout: 86.5%

List of nominating bodies


  1. ^ "This man wants to stop the 'silly charade' and run for the Seanad". 8 August 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  2. ^ Sheahan, Fionnan; Griffin, Sam (6 October 2014). "Seanad poll in balance as Varadkar says he won't vote for McNulty". Irish Independent. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  3. ^ "Minister admits: FG candidate didn't apply for state job". Today FM. 23 September 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  4. ^ O'Connell, Hugh (29 October 2014). "Here is John McNulty's handwritten note accepting his controversial state board appointment". Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  5. ^ O'Connell, Hugh (18 September 2014). "This guy is Fine Gael's surprise pick for the vacant Seanad seat". Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  6. ^ O'Connell, Hugh (27 September 2014). "8 things you need to know about Fine Gael's Seanad shambles… and why it matters". Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  7. ^ Melia, Paul (25 September 2014). "John McNulty resigns from IMMA board with immediate effect -". Irish Independent. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  8. ^ Bardon, Sarah (24 February 2016). "Enda Kenny backtracks on John McNulty admission". The Irish Times. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  9. ^ O'Connell, Hugh (30 September 2014). "GONE: John McNulty has withdrawn from the Seanad by-election". Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  10. ^ a b "Craughwell wins Seanad by-election". RTÉ.ie. 10 October 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
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