The Taoiseach has said that a committee will be set up to legislate for Seanad reform.

Speaking in the Seanad, Leo Varadkar told senators that while everyone seems to support reform, they are much less enthusiastic about change. 

He suggested an eight month mandate for a committee to consider the Manning Report and to develop specific proposals to legislate for Seanad reform. 

The Manning Report was the result of work carried out by an independent Working Group on Seanad Reform that was established by former taoiseach Enda Kenny in December 2014. 

It was chaired by the former senator, Dr Maurice Manning and reported in 2015.  

Mr Varadkar said the Programme for Government commits implementation of the report, and he told senators that he is happy to do that. 

The committee is to comprise of members of the Oireachtas as well as outside experts.

Mr Varadkar told Senators he would write to party and group leaders inviting them to nominate members for the committee.

"It's important that all groups are represented and also that it be representative. This will be done as soon as I can find a chairperson acceptable to all sides," he said.

The Taoiseach said among the recommendations that will be explored will be the suggestion of giving a vote in Seanad elections to all Irish citizens, wherever they reside in the world.

Mr Varadkar said there will be universal suffrage using the panel system, allowing people to choose which one suits them best. 

He acknowledged that he supported the referendum to abolish the Seanad in 2013, because he was not convinced that it would be possible to reform it.

However, he said the people had spoken and the matter would not be revisited. 

Responding to the Taoiseach's speech, senators used their time to address issues such as housing, homelessness, rural Ireland and the increasing number of women in politics.