Tuesday, 19 July 2016
Department of An Taoiseach
97. To ask the Taoiseach the proposed method by which a group will be selected to randomly choose persons to go on the new Citizens Assembly being set up by the Government on foot of a resolution passed in Dáil Éireann on 13 July 2016; if there will be independent oversight of its work and, if so, by whom; the steps being taken to ensure the persons chosen represent every region of the country, each eligible age group and persons in all socioeconomic groups; if records will be published to show the number of persons contacted with an invitation to attend the forum, broken down as above, who decline the invitation; if this information will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22870/16]
The Citizen's Assembly will comprise of 99 citizens and an independent Chairperson. The Chairperson will be selected following consultation with Government and Opposition Leaders. A polling company will be engaged by public tender to randomly select 99 people entitled to vote in a referendum to be members of the Assembly. The selection process will be overseen by the Chairperson. It will be for the Chairperson to see as far as possible that the persons chosen are broadly representative of Irish society, and to decide on procedures in relation to record keeping and publication of information.
98. To ask the Taoiseach when it is hoped the Citizens Assembly will hold its first meeting; the number of meetings it is intended to hold each month and the days of the week on which it is intended to hold meetings; when it is expected that consideration of the eighth amendment will be completed and a recommendation made; when public consultation on this matter by the assembly will commence; the nature of this public consultation; the method by which interested parties will be selected by the assembly to make a presentation to it; the method by which a chairperson of the assembly will be selected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22871/16]
It is intended that the first meeting of the Citizen's Assembly will take place in October 2016. The Chairperson, who will be independent, will be selected following consultation with Government and Opposition Leaders. The number of meetings the Assembly intends to hold each month, the days of the week that meetings will be held on, the timing and nature of public consultation and the method by which interested parties will be selected to make presentations to the Assembly will be a matter for the Chairperson and Assembly members themselves to decide. It will, of course, be open to interest groups and members of the public to make written submissions for consideration by the Assembly.
The Resolution passed by Dáil and Seanad Éireann approving the calling of the Assembly sets a time limit of one year from the date of the first Assembly meeting for completion of the Assembly's work, but does not set a time limit for individual items. However, it specifies that the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution will be the first item that the Assembly will report on. The report on the Eighth Amendment, when completed, will be sent to the Houses of the Oireachtas, which on receipt will refer the report for consideration to a Committee of both Houses, which in turn will bring its conclusions to the Houses for debate.