Written answers

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Department of An Taoiseach

Citizens' Assembly

Photo of Joe O'BrienJoe O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Green Party)
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7. To ask the Taoiseach when the citizens' assembly on drug use will be convened; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29282/20]

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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The Programme for Government provides for establishment of Citizens' Assemblies to consider matters relating to the type of directly elected mayor and local government structures best suited for Dublin; drugs use; biodiversity; and the future of education.

The timing of each of these Assemblies has yet to be worked out but it is expected that the Assembly to consider the type of mayor and local government structures best suited for Dublin will be established next, with a new Chairperson and new members, following completion of the current Assembly. The situation is of course complicated by restrictions necessitated by Covid-19.

Officials from my Department are engaging with officials from Department of Health on the approach to be taken as regards the Citizens’ Assembly on drugs use, however it is important that the work currently underway in relation to the multidisciplinary response to addiction and recovery should not be delayed while consideration is being given to the correct way to proceed with the Citizens’ Assembly approach.

The work of the current Citizens’ Assembly on gender equality has been delayed by the impact of Covid-19. The Assembly has had to adapt its methods to comply with Public Health guidelines and is resuming its work with online meetings with the aim of reporting by June 2021. The experience of the current Assembly of operating on an online basis will inform the approach to the other Citizen's Assemblies to be undertaken in line with the Programme for Government.

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