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Issued by the Government Press Office

28 February 2023


Taoiseach appoints Paul Reid as Chairperson of the
Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar T.D. today confirmed that he has appointed Mr. Paul Reid as the independent Chairperson of the Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use.

Announcing the appointment, the Taoiseach said: “I am delighted that Paul Reid has agreed to chair the Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use. Paul has vast leadership experience and a successful track record as CEO of the Health Services Executive and Fingal County Council. I am confident he will be an excellent choice as Chairperson of the Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use.”

Commenting on his appointment, Mr. Reid stated: “I am delighted to have been appointed by the Taoiseach as Chairperson of the Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use. The problems associated with drugs use in Ireland affect us all, directly or indirectly. Previous Assemblies have shown that members of the general public have an important contribution to make to tackling complex societal problems, and I expect that the Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use will be no different. A campaign to select members of the public to join the Citizens’ Assembly will begin this week. I look forward to working with my fellow members of the Citizens’ Assembly over the coming months.”

The Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use was established following resolutions in Dáil and Seanad Éireann in late February. The Terms of Reference call on the Citizens’ Assembly to examine and make recommendations on 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.

The Citizens’ Assembly will consist of 100 members, including the independent Chairperson and 99 members of the general public, who will be chosen through a random selection process.

Over the coming week, 20,000 households around Ireland will receive letters from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar inviting someone from the household to apply to join the Citizens’ Assembly. From the applications received, the final 99 members will be chosen based on their age profile, gender and location. Those who receive an invitation will have until 19th March to apply via

The first meeting of the Citizens’ Assembly is scheduled to take place on April 14th, and it is due to complete its work and submit its report to the Houses of the Oireachtas by the end of the year.



Background Notes

Paul Reid has held CEO and senior executive roles in the private, semi state, central government, local government, health and not for profit sectors. As CEO of the Health Service Executive from 2019-2022, Paul was responsible for 150,000 staff and a budget of €22 billion. He led the Irish health service through the Covid-19 pandemic and a potentially catastrophic cyber-attack. He headed a significant reform strategy for the HSE, and took lead roles in communicating public health advice and in implementing the vaccination programme, which achieved an unparalleld 98% uptake.

As CEO of Fingal County Council from 2014 – 2019, Paul had executive responsibility for one the largest local authorities in the State, with a budget of over €300 million and 1,500 staff. Fingal became the leading local authority in terms of social and private housing development. It also led the way in attracting foreign direct investment and job creation across all sectors, through active land management and working with national State agencies.


For further information, please contact:

Ronan Farren, Q4 Public Relations, 087-934 0386