Terms of Reference

Citizens’ Assembly on
Drugs Use

Terms of Reference

A Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use shall be convened to consider the legislative, policy and operational changes the State could make to significantly reduce the harmful impacts of illicit drugs on individuals, families, communities and wider society, and to bring forward recommendations in this regard; the Assembly shall consider, inter alia:

  • the drivers, prevalence, attitudes and trends in relation to drugs use in Irish society;
  • the harmful impacts of drugs use on individuals, families, communities and wider society;
  • best practice in promoting and supporting rehabilitation and recovery from drug addiction;
  • the lived experience of young people and adults affected by drugs use, as well as their families and communities;
  • international, European Union, national and local perspectives on drugs use;
  • the efficacy of current strategic, policy and operational responses to drugs use;
  • international best practice and practical case studies in relation to reducing supply, demand and harm, and increasing resilience, health and well-being; and
  • the opportunities and challenges, in an Irish context, of reforming legislation, strategy, policy and operational responses to drugs use, taking into consideration the implications for the health, criminal justice and education systems.

The Assembly shall:

  • consist of 100 members in total, including 99 randomly selected members of the general public, and an independent Chairperson to be nominated by the Taoiseach;
  • preclude from membership any individual who is either:
    • under 18 years of age;
    • not normally resident in the State;
    • a politician currently serving in either House of the Oireachtas, in local government or in the European Parliament;
    • a lobbyist as provided for under the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015; or
    • a person unwilling to adhere to public health measures as prescribed by Government and public health authorities from time to time;
  • hold its inaugural meeting in April 2023 and conclude its work and submit a report to the Oireachtas by the end of 2023;
  • have flexibility to determine a revised timeline for completion of its work in the event of extraordinary circumstances delaying or disrupting its work;
  • submit a report and recommendation(s) on the matters before it to the Houses of the Oireachtas. On receipt, the Houses of the Oireachtas shall refer the report to a Committee of both Houses for consideration; this Committee will, in turn, bring its conclusions to the Houses of the Oireachtas for debate. Furthermore, the Government shall, on consideration of the report from the Citizens’ Assembly, provide in the Houses of the Oireachtas a response to each recommendation of the Assembly, setting out a timeframe for implementing those recommendations which it accepts;
  • have a Secretary and secretariat staff assigned to support the effective governance and operation of Assembly meetings, to support the Chairperson and members in their roles, and to support the drafting of the final report;
  • agree its own rules of procedure and work programme to enable the effective conduct of its business in as economical and efficient a manner as possible;
  • operate in an open and transparent manner, including by live streaming public proceedings;
  • determine all issues by a majority of the votes of members present and voting, other than the Chairperson, who will have a casting vote in the case of an equality of votes;
  • develop innovative programming to feature individuals and communities directly affected by drugs-related issues, and those working in front-line service delivery;
  • engage subject matter experts to inform its deliberations, including as invited speakers or as members of an Expert Advisory Group;
  • engage with stakeholders and the general public, including through a public consultation process, and by inviting select speakers to participate in meetings of the Assembly;
  • make payment of an honorarium to the Chairperson at a per diem rate to be sanctioned by the Department of Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery and Reform; and
  • make payment to the members of the Citizens’ Assembly and members of the Expert Advisory Group of a nominal honorarium to recognise their civic service.