2016-2018 Citizens' Assembly - Eighth Amendment of the Constitution

Submissions on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution

The submissions process for the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution is now closed.

Submissions were accepted from 14 October 2016 to 5 pm on 16 December 2016. Postal submissions received after 16 December were not accepted.

Approximately 13,075 submissions were received, of which 8,092 were received online and 4,983 were received by post.

All information relating to submissions on the ‘Eighth Amendment of the Constitution‘ can be found by navigating to the drop-down list below. Please note that this information has been migrated from a legacy website, so the order and layout may differ from its original display. Please be advised all text remains the same as the original published information.

Rules and Guidelines

The following rules apply in respect of submissions received by the Assembly and were advised in advance. Subsequent decisions taken by the Secretariat during the process are in italics below.

      1. The Assembly welcomed submissions from Irish citizens and non-citizens living in Ireland or living abroad.
      2. All submissions received were published on the website and displayed with a full name (first name, surname)/name of organisation, if appropriate.
      3. Anonymous submissions were not accepted. Submissions made with just a first name listed are not being published. Equally, submissions received with an initial and surname (e.g. J Smyth) are not being published. Exception: Submissions received with a series of initials that are commonly recognised as being a name (i.e. JP, PJ, AP) and a surname were published.
      4. In the case of personal stories and sensitive submissionsall personal data and related identifiable details were removed or redacted if requested. These submissions are listed online as “Name with Secretariat”, or NWS.
      5. If an individual asks for his/her name to be withheld but had not submitted a personal story, only comment/opinion, the Secretariat contacted the individual to ask if would he/she like the submission removed as all submissions were published with a name etc (as  above).
      6. If an individual indicated that he/she were under the age of 18 and requested that his/her name be withheld this was respected.
      7. Each submission received either on our website or by post, was treated as an individual submission including all signatures to that submission. If, for example, a submission was received with twenty signatures it was treated as one submission. If the same submission was received twenty times, each signed individually, they were treated as twenty submissions.
      8. The Assembly reserved the right not to accept a submission if it was deemed offensive or inappropriate.

Note: Submissions Not Received

The Secretariat is aware that in some instances, users availing of the online system to make a submission did not successfully complete the process.

The Assembly’s website development company, pTools, has reviewed the application, server logs and other logs and believes that, due to the high volume of submissions over the period, especially in the closing week, some submission may not have been captured. The company has advised that this could have happened for a number of reasons e.g. where a person’s internet connection was interrupted, where the connection timed out, where the submit button was not pressed at the end of the submission process or where it was pressed but due to the high volume of traffic the transaction failed to complete.

The Secretariat continues to deal with any of these queries on a case-by-case basis. Where partial details were captured from which pTools were able to identify the contact details of the person making the submission these details were supplied to the Secretariat who made contact with those individuals.

Advocacy Groups and Personal Stories

At the Assembly’s second meeting on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, held 7-8 January 2017, the Members agreed that the publication of submissions received from advocacy groups, political parties and other interest/representative organisations should be prioritised. A list of such groups can be viewed here.

The Members also requested that personal stories received from individuals should be prioritised. The secretariat has prepared a list of such stories which can be viewed here.

At the fourth meeting of the Assembly the Secretary, Ms Sharon Finegan, gave a detailed demonstration on how to search for submissions. Please consult the demonstration if you experience any difficulties in locating submissions.

Random Sample of Submissions Received on the Eighth Amendment

The Citizens’ Assembly received in excess of 13,500 submissions from the public in relation to the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.

It became apparent that publication of the submissions on the Assembly website was a very time-consuming exercise. To combat this and in order for the submissions to meaningfully contribute to the Members deliberations on the topic, the Secretariat considered ways to make a sample of the submissions available to the Assembly Members as quickly as possible.

It was proposed therefore to present the Members with a random sample of 300 of the total 13,500. The methodology applied to select this sample was developed with the assistance of the Central Statistics Office and was as follows:

  • Each individual submission will be given a unique alpha numeric identifier. This will allow each record to be individually identified and retrieved once the random selection has taken place.
  • No categorisation or filtering will take place in advance
  • A formula will be applied using a random number generator in and a sample of 300 submissions will be selected.
  • It is noted that this sample may include some level of duplication, due to the large number of campaign or repeat submissions received. However in order to be as transparent as possible the sample, once selected, will not be altered in any way.
  • The 300 randomly selected submissions will then be compiled into a single document, grouped according to how they were received (all electronic submissions together, all postal submissions together), and circulated to all members of the Assembly for discussion at the February meeting.

Please use the link below to access the 300 randomly selected submissions which formed the basis of a discussion on submissions at the Assembly’s third meeting on 4-5 February 2017.

Random Sample

Published Submissions

Submissions were accepted from 14 October 2016 to 5 pm on 16 December 2016. Postal submissions received after 16 December were not accepted.

Approximately 13,075 submissions were received, of which 8,092 were received online and 4,983 were received by post.

Of these, approximately 12,200 have been published. In total 872 were not published. Of those originally received and not published the reasons were as follows:

529 did not comply with the submission rules/ guidelines –

  • 415 were submitted anonymously online;
  • 102 were received by post and had indecipherable signatures and were therefore deemed to be anonymous;
  • 4 contained offensive or inappropriate material and therefore did not comply with the submissions rules/ guidelines;
  • 8 were not relevant to the topic

In addition, a further 343 submissions were not published for the following reasons:

  • 325 duplicates (where the exact same submission was received more than once online with the exact same time stamp on the submission, thus indicating that the submitter hit submit more than once by accident);
  • 18 requests for removal from submitters.