Friday April 13th 2018: The Citizens’ Assembly (the Assembly) will meet this weekend (April 14th and 15th) to consider its fifth and final topic, ‘Fixed Term Parliaments’. Before the members vote on Sunday they will hear from a number of experts on the issue and draft recommendations for the Oireachtas.
On Saturday the Chair of the Assembly, the Honourable Ms Mary Laffoy and the 99 Citizen Members will hear presentations relevant to their examination of the topic:
- Dr Eoin Daly from NUI Galway will explain current law and practice on the summoning and dissolving of Dáil and Seanad Éireann;
- Dr Eoin O’Malley from DCU will outline the history of political practice in Ireland on the summoning and dissolving of Dáil and Seanad Éireann;
- Professor Petra Schleiter from Oxford will outline the experience and practice in other jurisdictions; and
- Dr Rory Costello from the University of Limerick will give an outline of the pros and cons and issues arising if Fixed Term Parliaments were introduced in Ireland.
Chair of the Assembly, the Honourable Ms Mary Laffoy said “This weekend we meet for the 12th and final time as the Assembly. Already we have covered four topics, heard from 61 experts, spent endless hours deliberating and made 70 recommendations to the Houses of the Oireachtas. Those numbers will increase this weekend as we bring to a close the Assembly’s formal proceedings with our consideration of the fifth and final topic, Fixed Term Parliaments.
“It is understood that this topic was included at the request of the Independent Alliance. The Assembly will focus our considerations this weekend on whether there should be greater restrictions in place on the Taoiseach’s ability to advise the President to dissolve the Dáil and will require us to consider a number of constitutional articles.”
On Sunday following the deliberations the Members will vote by secret ballot on the recommendations they wish to make to the Houses of the Oireachtas. Their conclusions will form the basis of a report to be submitted to the Houses of the Oireachtas for further debate by elected representatives.
Voting will be in secret and the voting process and counting of ballot papers will be overseen once again by Mr. John Fitzpatrick, the former Returning Officer for County Dublin and his team. It is intended that the results of the ballot will be announced as soon as the votes have been counted and verified and this announcement will be done by the Chair in public session which the public can watch live.
All public sessions of the Assembly will be live streamed this weekend, while submissions, presentations and the recommendations of the members of the Assembly will also be available on www.citizensassembly.ie
Follow the Citizens Assembly on Twitter @CitizAssembly
Media Contact: Páraic Gallagher / Cora Lanigan, Q4PR, 087 8180 555 / 01 475 1444
Notes to Editor:
The Assembly is a body comprising the Chairperson and 99 citizens, randomly selected to be broadly representative of the Irish electorate, established to consider some of the most important issues facing Ireland’s future. The Assembly members deliberate on the topics as outlined in the Resolution approving its establishment. Their conclusions on each topic will form the basis of individual reports and recommendations that will be submitted to the Houses of the Oireachtas for further debate by our elected representatives.