The Seanad is to introduce reforms in October with a view to improving efficiency in the Upper House.

Leader of the Seanad Maurice Cummins described the changes as a genuine attempt to increase its role in scrutiny of EU law and North South cooperation.

The Seanad will review the work of the North South Ministerial Council and the British - Irish Council as well as North South Implementation Bodies.

Senators will also debate the European Commission's annual work programme and review reports from Oireachtas committees on EU policy proposals.

The Order of Business will be rescheduled to avoid clashes with Oireachtas committees and commencement debates will replace adjournment debates, which Mr Cummins said would allow senators to raise issues with ministers earlier in the day.