Ahern launches campaign for Seanad Industrial and Commercial panel by-election

25 March 2021

Ciarán Ahern of the Labour Party has launched his campaign for the upcoming Seanad Industrial and Commercial panel by-election

Mr Ahern, a director of the charity Calcutta Connect and an employment solicitor, is running to be a voice for a younger generation that wants Ireland organised differently. In a video released last week Mr Ahern outlined his reasons for running: 

“Young people want to be able to aspire to the same quality of life as their parents.  This means decent stable jobs, a good work-life balance, and the ability to live in affordable, safe and sustainable communities.

I believe in the power of politics to solve our biggest problems – but my generation increasingly does not. We need to change that and I want to help.”

As part of his campaign, Mr Ahern is also calling for reform of the Seanad and for the voting age to be lowered to 16. Mr Ahern has released a new campaign video with his friend and comedian, Seán Flanagan, critiquing the Seanad by-election process.

This video can be accessed here: https://twitter.com/ciaranahern/status/1375035984170090499?s=20 

Speaking before the launch of his campaign, Mr Ahern said: 

“Lots of friends have been asking me how they can vote for me or support me in this election and the short answer is they can’t. Very few people understand that 218 politicians are the only ones who get to decide on this election to our national parliament. 

Through backroom deals the larger parties have the vote sewn up well in advance making it next to impossible for candidates from smaller parties to win these elections.

This is just one small part of the Seanad reform that Labour has been calling for. Senator Ivana Bacik and Labour colleagues have proposed a number of reforms that could be brought in immediately via legislation, without the need to change the constitution. This includes the opportunity for all citizens to vote for the five vocational panels, expansion of the electorate for the University panel and holding the Seanad election on the same day as the Dáil Election.” 

Mr Ahern concluded by saying “During the course of this campaign I want to talk about how we engage younger people in the political process. Reforms to the Seanad and lowering the voting age to 16 could foster a lifelong commitment to civic engagement for a generation that is increasingly pessimistic about their future”.


Ciarán Ahern was a first-time candidate for the Labour Party in last year’s General Election in Dublin South West. He was announced as a candidate on the day the election was called and after a three and a half week campaign he finished with 5,803 votes. 

His campaign won widespread admiration for its clear focus on building a kinder, fairer and more sustainable society – and for its innovative use of humour

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