20 October 2023 – The Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use will hold its final meeting this weekend, Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd October, at The Grand Hotel in Malahide, to discuss, vote, and agree final recommendations to reduce the harm caused by illicit drugs use in Ireland.
This will be the sixth meeting of the 100 member Assembly that has been working since early April. At this final meeting members will agree a series of questions to be voted on through the weekend that will then form the basis of a final report from the Assembly, to be submitted to the Oireachtas by the end of this year.
Following the end of the fifth meeting of the Assembly earlier this month, members have been circulated with draft ballot questions that they will have the opportunity to agree and finalise before the voting process commences.
The meeting marks the culmination of six months of wide-ranging discussions that amount to the most thorough consideration of Ireland’s existing drugs laws and policy in the history of the State. This process has included 120 individual presentations, almost 200 hours of discussion, and consideration of almost 800 submissions received during the open public consultation process.
Speaking ahead of the final meeting the Chair of the Assembly, Paul Reid, said, “Over the last six months the 99 members of the Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs User and I, as chairperson, have engaged with the complex, challenging and sometimes emotional issues relating to the harm caused by illicit drugs use. We have heard from a wide range of voices and perspectives on the issues and have examined the most up to date national and international research.
“Members have heard about the great work being done in communities across Ireland to assist people who use drugs. We have heard from emergency services, An Garda Siochana, healthcare professionals and people working at community level. We have also heard from individuals and family members about their day-to-day lived experiences. We have heard calls for radical change, calls for the maintenance of the status quo and every option in between.
“This weekend it is up to the members to decide what recommendations they will make. I am confident they have the knowledge and have heard from the breadth of experiences to make the most informed decisions. I look forward to this weekend’s meeting as the culmination of the hard work and dedication that members have brought to this process.”
The draft running order for the meeting is:
Saturday, 21 October 2023
Morning: Finalisation of Ballot Paper questions
Afternoon: Voting, and (possibly) announcement of results
Sunday 22nd October 2023
Morning (if required): Continuation of voting and announcement of results
All proceedings will be available to view live at www.citizensassembly.ie. Members of the media seeking media interviews or to attend the session are requested to contact Q4 Public Relations via the details below.