Do you think the Irish citizens’ assembly on abortion was a good idea?
If you live in Ireland, tell us about the assembly and its findings – did it help resolve a complex issue, might it help with Brexit?
In 2018, Ireland voted in a referendum to legalise abortion. Irish politics had been debating this divisive and emotive issue for decades, however the Irish citizens’ assembly, which deliberated on the matter prior to the referendum, was cited as a successful process in helping people understand the complex issues.
The citizens’ assembly was established in 2016 by parliament and its purpose was to deliberate on a number of issues, including the eighth amendment that outlawed abortion. The 99 citizen members of the assembly were selected to be electorally representative and included those in favour of the change, those against and those undecideds. Over the course of five weekends, between the end of 2016 and early 2017, the assembly listened to people on all sides of the abortion debate, including experts and those sharing their personal experiences.