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Citizens’ Assembly broadens participation for upcoming Assemblies

Thursday, 03 March 2022 – In a deliberate move to further broaden participation and representation, The Citizens’ Assembly has today announced a new and innovative recruitment process for members of the upcoming assemblies on Biodiversity Loss and a Directly Elected Mayor for Dublin that are due to take place from April.

Building on the work of previous Assemblies and to allow for wider representation of people living in Ireland, membership is being extended beyond those on the Electoral Register.

34,000 envelopes have been sent to homes across Irish cities, towns, villages and island communities containing an exclusive invitation from the Taoiseach, Micheál Martin TD, to participate in the new Assemblies and influence national decisions on these two important issues. Each address to which an invitation has been sent has been randomly selected via the GeoDirectory database.

Those who receive an invitation will be able to register their interest via citizensassembly.ie/register by 14 March, 2022, for a further selection process to create Assemblies broadly representative of Irish and Dublin life and communities. 20,000 invitations to the Biodiversity Assembly have been sent nationwide and 14,000 to those in Dublin for the Dublin Assembly.

Each Assembly will have an independent Chair. The Biodiversity Assembly will have a further 99 members selected from those who register their interest. The Dublin Assembly will have 79 members, 12 of whom will be councillors across the four local authorities and 67 selected from those who register their interest.

Previous Citizens’ Assemblies have demonstrated the power of bringing a group of people broadly representative to consider, discuss, and make recommendations to the Government on critical aspects of Irish life, such as the Eighth Amendment, Gender Equality, and Climate Change.

Speaking about the upcoming Citizen’s Assemblies, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said “The Citizens’ Assemblies are a key commitment in the Programme for Government. We want to build on the success of previous assemblies in examining a wide range of important national issues. These assemblies have become an important part of our democratic system in recent years, offering people an important opportunity to contribute directly to national decision-making. 

“Ireland’s Citizens’ Assemblies have been recognised and studied internationally as templates for how to broaden participative democracy, and I look forward to these two assemblies continuing that important work.”

The Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity will address one of the most critical issues facing Ireland and the wider world.  It is now accepted that the planet is facing a biodiversity crisis. As broadcaster and environmental campaigner David Attenborough said, “What humans do over the next 50 years will determine the fate of all life on the planet.” Those who take part in the Biodiversity Citizens’ Assembly will help shape and direct the national response to this issue.

The Dublin Assembly arises from the significant changes that have taken place in the capital city in recent decades.  Population growth and wider development have transformed how the city operates. The Dublin Citizens’ Assembly will help create a new vision for the administration of Dublin, proposing new ways to manage the many and varied challenges and opportunities for Dublin City and County and its people.

The two Assemblies are scheduled to start their work in April and should conclude their work by the end of the year at the latest. 

ENDS

Contacts

For more information contact the team at Q4 Public Relations:

  • Sabrina D’Angelo, email sabrina@q4pr.ie, mob. 086 032 3397 
  • Lorna Gardiner, email lorna@q4pr.ie, mob. 086 076 1374 
  • Ronan Farren, email ronan@q4pr.ie, mob. 087 934 0386
Note to Editors

*Recruitment of members to The Citizens’ Assemblies 2022

In line with the recent Government decision and Oireachtas Resolutions on the Establishment of Citizens’ Assemblies, the latest round of Citizens’ Assemblies will use a new approach to member recruitment. These latest innovations are strongly informed by the experience of previous Citizens’ Assemblies in Ireland, and by international best practice.

34,000 households around the country will receive a letter in the post, inviting someone from their household the opportunity to apply to become a member of the Assembly. Each county will receive invitations proportionate to its overall population. Households have been selected randomly from the GeoDirectory database which is the most comprehensive available database of households.

Written invitations are addressed generically to “The Householder”, rather than to named individuals. Only one adult from each household that receives an invitation is eligible to apply, and it is up to households themselves to decide who might apply. Invitations are non-transferable between households. The registration process requires each applicant to use a unique identifier code, which prevents more than one application from the same household, or more than one household using the same invitation.

Households have to register their interest in becoming a member of the Assembly by 14th March 2022. The Secretariat to the Citizens’ Assemblies will use key demographic information gathered during the registration process to conduct a stratified random selection of members, so that the overall composition of the assemblies broadly mirrors the composition of wider Irish society in terms of gender, geography and socio-economic status.

*A full explanatory note on the recruitment and registration process including graphics demonstrating the spread and concentration of invitations for the Citizens’ Assemblies on Biodiversity Loss and a Directly Elected Lord Mayor for Dublin are available for download and reproduction at www.citizensassembly.ie/recruitment