What is a Citizens' Assembly?
A Citizens’ Assembly brings citizens together to discuss and consider important legal and policy issues in Ireland. The Assembly then makes recommendations and reports back to the Oireachtas (the Irish parliament).
Citizen’s Assembly on drugs use
A Citizens’ Assembly on drugs use started in April 2023. The Assembly met for the final time on 22 October 2023 and made 36 recommendations. It will present its final report to the Oireachtas before the end of 2023.
Assemblies on a mayor for Dublin and biodiversity loss
Two Citizens’ Assemblies took place in 2022. They considered:
The Citizens’ Assembly on a directly elected mayor for Dublin met for the final time on 1 October 2022. The Assembly voted in favour of recommending a directly elected mayor, and presented its final report including its recommendations on 27 January 2023.
The Citizens’ Assembly on the loss of biodiversity met for the final time on 21 January 2023. The Assembly presented its final report including its recommendations on 5 April 2023.
Previous Citizens’ Assemblies
Between 2016 and 2018, the Citizens’ Assembly was established to consider:
Members of the Citizens' Assembly
Before 2022, members of the Citizens' Assembly were selected at random from the electoral register.
From 2022, any adult resident in the State is eligible to become a member of a Citizens' Assembly. This includes people who are not Irish citizens and who are not enrolled on the electoral register.
Invitations are sent to randomly-selected households. From those who reply agreeing to take part, members are selected to reflect Irish society in terms of age, gender, social class and regional spread.
How the Assembly works
Each Assembly agrees its own rules and procedures for how it will carry out its business. Its meetings must follow 6 key principles to ensure fairness and avoid bias.
The Assembly may invite and accept submissions from people who are interested in any of the issues being discussed, such as expert advisory groups.
When the Assembly finishes considering each issue, it develops a series of draft recommendations and votes on each. It then reports to the Houses of the Oireachtas and makes recommendations. The next step for the Government is to provide a response to each recommendation and arrange for a debate in the Oireachtas.
If the Government accepts a recommendation that the Constitution should be amended, its response in the Oireachtas will include a timeframe for the holding of a referendum.