29th September 2016 – The inaugural meeting of the Citizens’ Assembly (the Assembly) will take place in Dublin Castle on October 15th 2016. The Assembly is a body of made up of the Chairperson, Ms. Justice Mary Laffoy, and 99 citizens, randomly selected to be broadly representative of the Irish electorate, with a mandate to look at the following issues:
- the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution;
- how we best respond to the challenges and opportunities of an ageing population;
- fixed term parliaments;
- the manner in which referenda are held;
- how the State can make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change.
The inaugural meeting of the Assembly at Dublin Castle will be an introductory session, affording the Members of the Assembly the opportunity to meet one another and to gain a better understanding of the role which they will play in the Assembly. It will also be an opportunity for the Members to consider the key principles which will underpin the work of the Assembly and the Rules and Procedures which will govern it.
Following this inaugural meeting the Assembly will meet again on 25th November in the Grand Hotel in Malahide, at which time it will commence its consideration of the first item referred to it by the Dáil Resolution; the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.
The Assembly will be calling for submissions from representative groups, citizen organisations and members of the public outlining their views in advance of Assembly meetings and these submissions will help to form the work programme for the debate.
The Chairperson of the Assembly will put in place an Expert Panel on each of these topics. The Panel will reflect different views on the issues to be considered by the Assembly in a balanced way. The membership of the Expert Panel is likely to change depending on the topic and will be approved by the Steering Group, comprised of Assembly members.
The Assembly members will deliberate on the each of the topics as outlined and any other matters that may be referred to it. Their conclusions on each topic will form the basis of individual reports and recommendations that will be submitted to the Houses of the Oireachtas.
It is expected that the Assembly will consider the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution over a series of meetings and that the subsequent report on the Eighth Amendment would be submitted to the Houses of the Oireachtas in the first half of 2017.
All public sessions of the Assembly, including the inaugural meeting will be live streamed on www.citizensassembly.ie
RED C Research and Marketing Ltd were appointed to provide a representative sample of 99 members of the public and substitutes for the Citizens’ Assembly. The names of each member and counties they come from will be made available on www.citizensassembly.ie following the inaugural meeting.
Media Contact: Martin Mackin / Síle Murphy/Nora Eastwood/ Q4PR, 086 0288 132 / 087 175 4149
Notes to Editors
The Programme for a Partnership Government committed the Government to ‘the establishment of a Citizens’ Assembly, within six months and without participation by politicians, with a mandate to look at a limited number of key issues over an extended time period.’ The Assembly’s terms of reference were agreed by the Houses of the Oireachtas in July 2016.