Previous Assemblies

Citizens’ Assembly is a group made up of members of the general public, who have been selected to deliberate on an issue or issues of national importance. Citizens’ assemblies can be traced back to the 2011 Programme for Government, which committed to the establishment of a Constitutional Convention.

Building on the work of the Convention on the Constitution, citizens’ assemblies have been established to examine important societal issues over the last decade, including the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, population ageing, gender equality, and biodiversity loss amongst others.

The current Programme for Government includes a commitment to holding four citizens’ assemblies in its lifetime. Two of these assemblies are already complete, the Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss and the Dublin Assembly. The third Assembly on Drugs Use is underway with the final Citizens’ Assembly to commence in due course.

Timeline of citizens' assemblies in Ireland

1

2013 - 2014 Convention on the Constitution

July 2013 – Convention on the Constitution was approved by Resolution of both Houses of the Oireachtas.

 

Issues considered:

  • Reducing the Voting Age and the Presidential Term
  • Role of Women and Women in Politics
  • Same Sex Marriage
  • Electoral Reform
  • Blasphemy
  • Amending the Constitution to give citizens resident outside the State the right to vote in Presidential elections
  • Dáil Reform
  • Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  • Conclusions and Final Recommendations

Read more about the 2013 – 2014 – Convention on the Constitution.

2

2016 - 2018 Citizens' Assembly

July 2016 – Establishment of the Citizens Assembly 2016 – 2018 was approved by Resolution of both Houses of the Oireachtas.

 

Issues considered:

  • Eighth Amendment of the Constitution
  • How we best respond to the challenges and opportunities of an ageing population
  • How the State can make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change
  • The manner in which referenda are held
  • Fixed Term Parliament

Read more about the 2016 – 2018 – Citizens’ Assembly.

3

2020 - 2021 Citizens' Assembly on Gender Equality

July 2019 – Establishment by Oireachtas resolution in July 2019 to consider gender equality and make recommendations to the Oireachtas to advance gender equality.

 

Issues considered:

  • challenge the remaining barriers and social norms and attitudes that facilitate gender discrimination towards girls and boys, women and men;
  • identify and dismantle economic and salary norms that result in gender inequalities, and reassess the economic value placed on work traditionally held by women;
  • in particular, seek to ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in the workplace, politics and public life;
  • recognise the importance of early years parental care and seek to facilitate greater work-life balance;
  • examine the social responsibility of care and women and men’s co-responsibility for care, especially within the family; and –
  • scrutinise the structural pay inequalities that result in women being disproportionately represented in low pay sectors.

Read more about the Citizens’ Assembly on Gender Equality. 

4

2022 Dublin Citizens' Assembly

February 2022 – Both Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann debated the establishment of the Citizens’ Assemblies before passing Resolutions.

 

Issues considered:

  • the strengths and weaknesses of the current model of local government in Dublin;
  • the potential benefits, risks, challenges and opportunities associated with a directly elected Mayor for Dublin;
  • what functions could be transferred from central government to regional or local government in Dublin, and how this should be funded;
  • the appropriate structure for local and regional government, councils and authorities, looking at models in other capital cities (e.g. a single elected Dublin authority with a mayor and no local councils, a two-tier structure like London or Paris with a mayor, regional assembly and local or borough councils, or a mayoral structure like Greater Manchester with a ‘super’ mayor sitting above the existing local authorities);
  • the perspectives of the general public, representative groups, advocacy groups, the sitting Councillors of the four local authorities, the Dublin Teachtaí Dála and Members of the European Parliament, local authority senior officials and staff, experts and policy makers.

Read more about the 2022 – Dublin Citizens’ Assembly. 

5

2022 Citizens' Assembly on Biodiversity Loss

February 2022 – In February 2022, both Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann debated the establishment of the Citizens’ Assemblies before passing Resolutions.

 

Issues considered:  

  • the international, European, national, regional and local dimensions to the biodiversity emergency;
  • the threats presented by biodiversity loss and the opportunities to reverse this loss;
  • the main drivers of biodiversity loss, their impacts and the opportunity of addressing these drivers;
  • the perspectives of the general public, representative groups, advocacy groups, experts and policy makers on biodiversity loss, and its impact on Ireland;
  • opportunities to develop greater policy coherence and strategic synergies between biodiversity policy and other policy priorities including, but not limited to, economic development, climate action, sustainable development, agriculture and tourism;
  • opportunities to promote greater public understanding of, and support for, urgent action in response to the biodiversity emergency; and
  • opportunities to improve the State’s response to the challenge of biodiversity loss, how that response can best be resourced and implemented in a strategic and coordinated manner, and how progress can be measured.

Read more about the 2022 Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss.

6

2023 Citizens' Assembly on Drugs Use

February 2023 – In February 2023, both Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann debated the establishment of the Citizens’ Assemblies before passing Resolutions.

 

Issues being considered:

  • 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.

Read more about the Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use.