The Citizens’ Assembly is an exercise in deliberative democracy, giving voice to people living in Ireland and placing them at the heart of important legal and policy issues facing Irish society. Over the last decade, citizens’ assemblies have become an important part of the Irish democratic process, playing a meaningful role in informing wider public debate on important issues.
The Citizens’ Assembly brings together 99 randomly selected members of the public to discuss and debate a specific issue. People from all walks of life – not normally involved in policy development or legislative proposals – are brought together to deliberate and exchange views on a specific topic.
Members of the assembly are asked to carefully consider a range of other views, examine reports and studies, consider experiences in other countries, hear from experts in their fields, as well as hearing the lived experiences of ordinary people affected by the subject matter. This allows the members of the assembly the opportunity to make an informed assessment of all perspectives on the topic.
The discussions amongst the members of the assembly culminate in a series of recommendations for the Government and the Oireachtas to consider.