Published Saturday, 05 October 2013
Leinster House, which houses the seanad chamber. (© Getty)
A total of 51.7% of the electorate voted against abolishing the Seanad.
The result was announced on Saturday afternoon after less than 40% of the population, some 1,240,722 people, took part in the historic poll.
The 'No' side emerged victorious with a margin of 42,500 votes.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny had led the call for abolition, a move which would have handed power exclusively to the Dáil.
He said it would have created a leaner, more effective and accountable political system.
After the count he spoke of his disappointment about what happened.
Sometimes in politics you get a wallop in the electoral process
He continued: "I accept the verdict of the people. Naturally I am personally disappointed but I fully accept and respect the outcome."
Meanwhile opponents, led by opposition party Fianna Fáil, argued the Seanad is needed to serve as a watchdog for government and to hold the ruling Cabinet ministers to account.
Party leader Micheal Martin said there must now be serious discussion between the Taoiseach, politicians and civil society over government reform.
Sinn Féin had backed the 'Yes' campaign.
Gerry Adams said voter turnout should be of great concern to all leaders in the Republic and added that the result should not be viewed as a vote to "retain the Seanad in its current form".
He explained: "All participants and parties involved in the referendum campaign were clear in saying that the Seanad in its current form is elitist, undemocratic and unacceptable."
The Irish parliament - the Oireachtas - is made up of the lower house and the Seanad, which has 60 members.
North Belfast MLA Alban Maginness said there should now be reforms of the Seanad including "significant" Northern Ireland representation.
"It is now timely for the Constitutional Convention in Dublin to consider, as part of its work, the reform of the Seanad," said the SDLP man.
"I will be putting forward, as part of the reform of the Seanad, that there be a significant Northern Ireland representation in a reformed Seanad.
"This is something the SDLP has supported for quite sometime and now I think it is timely that this be discussed with other reforms of the second chamber."
Meanwhile, in a second referendum, 65.29% of the Irish public voted in favour of the creation of a Court of Appeal. Mr Kenny welcomed the result.
© UTV News