The Citizens' Assembly - An Admission of Defeat?

Mercurial

Moderator
Joined
Jun 4, 2009
Messages
87,193
This month saw the launch of a new “Citizens’ Assembly”, which consists of 99 “citizens entitled to vote at a referendum, randomly selected so as to be broadly representative of Irish society” and one Supreme Court judge. In a process similar to the Constitutional Convention that ran from 2012-2014, the 2016 Assembly will consider a number of issues of public importance, ranging from abortion to climate change. A general thread on the Assembly can be found here.

The pragmatic political reasons for calling the Assembly are obvious: by having “ordinary citizens” recommend controversial policies (on abortion, for example) this allows elected officials to put some distance between themselves and policies which may alienate significant portions of potential voters. Directly voting for a referendum to Repeal the 8th Amendment is an easier sell if you can claim to be following the recommendations of citizens that are “broadly representative of Irish society”.

Let’s set these pragmatic reasons aside, for a moment. The government plainly cannot justify the establishment of the Assembly merely by appealing to such self-serving reasons. So, there must be some other story, some official explanation, as to why the Assembly is a good idea – even if we are not inclined to believe this story. In other words, there must be some official pitch as to why the Assembly will improve the decision-making process surrounding these very important issues.

However, it isn’t obvious to me what this official explanation actually is. Consider again the characteristics of the members of the Assembly: those who are “entitled to vote at a referendum, randomly selected so as to be broadly representative of Irish society”.

The implication of this choice seems to be (1) that our TDs and Senators are not broadly representative of Irish society and (2) that the best way to make decisions on these topics is to include people in the process who are broadly representative of Irish society.

I expect neither of these claims will strike you as being anything but obvious, but what I want to highlight here is that these claims are being made, or at least implied, by the state itself. It’s one thing for you or I to have little confidence in the ability of our politicians to make the right decisions, but it’s quite another for the state itself to admit that our elected officials aren’t “broadly representative of Irish society”.

Has the state failed to represent us properly, and is the establishment of the Citizens' Assembly an admission of defeat?
 


The Field Marshal

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 27, 2009
Messages
43,645
The so called "Citizens Assembly" is unconstitutional and a thump in the face to every ordinary Irish voter.

It is the product of a mind riding madly off in all directions except the one that matters.
 

Accidental sock

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
4,000
It kicks the can down the road, and allows the Government to abdicate responsibility whether a vote to repeal the 8th happens or not.....t'was the assembly what decided it.

Pure politicin'
 

statsman

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 25, 2011
Messages
55,055
The implication of this choice seems to be (1) that our TDs and Senators are not broadly representative of Irish society, (2) that the best way to make decisions on these topics is to include people in the process who are broadly representative of Irish society and (3) the majority of TDs would prefer to kick the can down the road for as long as possible.
 

statsman

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 25, 2011
Messages
55,055
It kicks the can down the road, and allows the Government to abdicate responsibility whether a vote to repeal the 8th happens or not.....t'was the assembly what decided it.

Pure politicin'
Snap.
 

GDPR

1
Joined
Jul 5, 2008
Messages
217,782
On the one hand they moan non stop about decision making being moved to Europe, with cynical use of 'our hands are tied'. Then on the other hand, they crap themselves at making tough decisions, fobbing the decision making off to this regulator or that, and in this case the citizens assembly, no doubt moaning that the decision was taken out of their hands, and round a round we go. Either politicians make decisions, pass legislation and represent us, or they're nothing more than political consultants/lobbyists. You get what you vote for.
 

artfoley56

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 24, 2011
Messages
9,802
This month saw the launch of a new “Citizens’ Assembly”, which consists of 99 “citizens entitled to vote at a referendum, randomly selected so as to be broadly representative of Irish society” and one Supreme Court judge. In a process similar to the Constitutional Convention that ran from 2012-2014, the 2016 Assembly will consider a number of issues of public importance, ranging from abortion to climate change. A general thread on the Assembly can be found here.

The pragmatic political reasons for calling the Assembly are obvious: by having “ordinary citizens” recommend controversial policies (on abortion, for example) this allows elected officials to put some distance between themselves and policies which may alienate significant portions of potential voters. Directly voting for a referendum to Repeal the 8th Amendment is an easier sell if you can claim to be following the recommendations of citizens that are “broadly representative of Irish society”.

Let’s set these pragmatic reasons aside, for a moment. The government plainly cannot justify the establishment of the Assembly merely by appealing to such self-serving reasons. So, there must be some other story, some official explanation, as to why the Assembly is a good idea – even if we are not inclined to believe this story. In other words, there must be some official pitch as to why the Assembly will improve the decision-making process surrounding these very important issues.

However, it isn’t obvious to me what this official explanation actually is. Consider again the characteristics of the members of the Assembly: those who are “entitled to vote at a referendum, randomly selected so as to be broadly representative of Irish society”.

The implication of this choice seems to be (1) that our TDs and Senators are not broadly representative of Irish society and (2) that the best way to make decisions on these topics is to include people in the process who are broadly representative of Irish society.

I expect neither of these claims will strike you as being anything but obvious, but what I want to highlight here is that these claims are being made, or at least implied, by the state itself. It’s one thing for you or I to have little confidence in the ability of our politicians to make the right decisions, but it’s quite another for the state itself to admit that our elected officials aren’t “broadly representative of Irish society”.

Has the state failed to represent us properly, and is the establishment of the Citizens' Assembly an admission of defeat?
Pure cowardice on behalf of the executive. Not a true citizens assembly either as if this were true they would be setting their own agenda and not one dictated by govt.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Messages
39,552
This month saw the launch of a new “Citizens’ Assembly”, which consists of 99 “citizens entitled to vote at a referendum, randomly selected so as to be broadly representative of Irish society” and one Supreme Court judge. In a process similar to the Constitutional Convention that ran from 2012-2014, the 2016 Assembly will consider a number of issues of public importance, ranging from abortion to climate change. A general thread on the Assembly can be found here.

The pragmatic political reasons for calling the Assembly are obvious: by having “ordinary citizens” recommend controversial policies (on abortion, for example) this allows elected officials to put some distance between themselves and policies which may alienate significant portions of potential voters. Directly voting for a referendum to Repeal the 8th Amendment is an easier sell if you can claim to be following the recommendations of citizens that are “broadly representative of Irish society”.

Let’s set these pragmatic reasons aside, for a moment. The government plainly cannot justify the establishment of the Assembly merely by appealing to such self-serving reasons. So, there must be some other story, some official explanation, as to why the Assembly is a good idea – even if we are not inclined to believe this story. In other words, there must be some official pitch as to why the Assembly will improve the decision-making process surrounding these very important issues.

However, it isn’t obvious to me what this official explanation actually is. Consider again the characteristics of the members of the Assembly: those who are “entitled to vote at a referendum, randomly selected so as to be broadly representative of Irish society”.

The implication of this choice seems to be (1) that our TDs and Senators are not broadly representative of Irish society and (2) that the best way to make decisions on these topics is to include people in the process who are broadly representative of Irish society.

I expect neither of these claims will strike you as being anything but obvious, but what I want to highlight here is that these claims are being made, or at least implied, by the state itself. It’s one thing for you or I to have little confidence in the ability of our politicians to make the right decisions, but it’s quite another for the state itself to admit that our elected officials aren’t “broadly representative of Irish society”.

Has the state failed to represent us properly, and is the establishment of the Citizens' Assembly an admission of defeat?
There are many groups not represented in Leinster House:

Those living solely on the State Pension;
Stay-at-home parents;
Those in severe poverty;
The homeless;
The long-term unemployed;
Those convicted of crimes;
The mentally ill (by that I mean chronically and debilitatingly so);
Those with very serious long-term illness;

etc

While many of these aren't strictly bars to becoming a TD or senator many simply make it practically impossible. If our houses were to be truly reprentative then they would have to consist of such a patchwork quilt of minority interests that many TDs might have to simultaneously don the robes of an LBGT/naturalised citizen/farming representative.

Truly representative houses would also both feature at least 50% of representatives who are below average intelligence.
 

Zapped(CAPITALISMROTS)

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 7, 2015
Messages
6,493
Twitter
daxxdrake
A craven and cynical exercise to cover Politicians ineptitude and cowardice ..:mad:
 

Mercurial

Moderator
Joined
Jun 4, 2009
Messages
87,193
There are many groups not represented in Leinster House:

Those living solely on the State Pension;
Stay-at-home parents;
Those in severe poverty;
The homeless;
The long-term unemployed;
Those convicted of crimes;
The mentally ill (by that I mean chronically and debilitatingly so);
Those with very serious long-term illness.
I would guess that most of those groups will not be represented among the Assembly members either.
 

Lumpy Talbot

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 30, 2015
Messages
29,004
Twitter
No
Good OP and I was quite tickled politically by the point that implied that if the Dail finds it needs guidance from 99 citizens broadly representative of Irish society then that does also imply an admission that they are falling down on the job of representing Irish society themselves.

I agree with other posters who have asserted that this citizens' assembly is an exercise designed to distance TDs from the socially reactionary rump of their own parties. It is designed to allow TDs to say that they are only leading by following the citizens' assembly.
 

Icemancometh

Well-known member
Joined
May 24, 2007
Messages
334
You could make an argument that a citizens' assembly can be solely focused on the issues given to it, whereas a parliament has the routine issues such as budgets and committees to deal with and cannot be so narrowly focused. Of course, I agree with everyone else though, it's absolute political cowardice and designed to give FG cover with conservative voters when the time comes.
 

lostexpectation

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 3, 2006
Messages
14,117
Website
dublinstreams.blogspot.com
It kicks the can down the road, and allows the Government to abdicate responsibility whether a vote to repeal the 8th happens or not.....t'was the assembly what decided it.
but it won't be the assembly that decides it will be the gov and tds/senators
 

drummed

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 22, 2010
Messages
36,191
On the one hand they moan non stop about decision making being moved to Europe, with cynical use of 'our hands are tied'. Then on the other hand, they crap themselves at making tough decisions, fobbing the decision making off to this regulator or that, and in this case the citizens assembly, no doubt moaning that the decision was taken out of their hands, and round a round we go. Either politicians make decisions, pass legislation and represent us, or they're nothing more than political consultants/lobbyists. You get what you vote for.
Indeed.
 

ger12

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 25, 2011
Messages
47,680
This month saw the launch of a new “Citizens’ Assembly”, which consists of 99 “citizens entitled to vote at a referendum, randomly selected so as to be broadly representative of Irish society” and one Supreme Court judge. In a process similar to the Constitutional Convention that ran from 2012-2014, the 2016 Assembly will consider a number of issues of public importance, ranging from abortion to climate change. A general thread on the Assembly can be found here.

The pragmatic political reasons for calling the Assembly are obvious: by having “ordinary citizens” recommend controversial policies (on abortion, for example) this allows elected officials to put some distance between themselves and policies which may alienate significant portions of potential voters. Directly voting for a referendum to Repeal the 8th Amendment is an easier sell if you can claim to be following the recommendations of citizens that are “broadly representative of Irish society”.

Let’s set these pragmatic reasons aside, for a moment. The government plainly cannot justify the establishment of the Assembly merely by appealing to such self-serving reasons. So, there must be some other story, some official explanation, as to why the Assembly is a good idea – even if we are not inclined to believe this story. In other words, there must be some official pitch as to why the Assembly will improve the decision-making process surrounding these very important issues.

However, it isn’t obvious to me what this official explanation actually is. Consider again the characteristics of the members of the Assembly: those who are “entitled to vote at a referendum, randomly selected so as to be broadly representative of Irish society”.

The implication of this choice seems to be (1) that our TDs and Senators are not broadly representative of Irish society and (2) that the best way to make decisions on these topics is to include people in the process who are broadly representative of Irish society.

I expect neither of these claims will strike you as being anything but obvious, but what I want to highlight here is that these claims are being made, or at least implied, by the state itself. It’s one thing for you or I to have little confidence in the ability of our politicians to make the right decisions, but it’s quite another for the state itself to admit that our elected officials aren’t “broadly representative of Irish society”.

Has the state failed to represent us properly, and is the establishment of the Citizens' Assembly an admission of defeat?
The government being elected by the people are entitled to consult any group of people they see fit to consult in fairness.
 

lostexpectation

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 3, 2006
Messages
14,117
Website
dublinstreams.blogspot.com
This month saw the launch of a new “Citizens’ Assembly”, which consists of 99 “citizens entitled to vote at a referendum, randomly selected so as to be broadly representative of Irish society” and one Supreme Court judge. In a process similar to the Constitutional Convention that ran from 2012-2014, the 2016 Assembly will consider a number of issues of public importance, ranging from abortion to climate change. A general thread on the Assembly can be found here.

The pragmatic political reasons for calling the Assembly are obvious: by having “ordinary citizens” recommend controversial policies (on abortion, for example) this allows elected officials to put some distance between themselves and policies which may alienate significant portions of potential voters. Directly voting for a referendum to Repeal the 8th Amendment is an easier sell if you can claim to be following the recommendations of citizens that are “broadly representative of Irish society”.

Let’s set these pragmatic reasons aside, for a moment. The government plainly cannot justify the establishment of the Assembly merely by appealing to such self-serving reasons. So, there must be some other story, some official explanation, as to why the Assembly is a good idea – even if we are not inclined to believe this story. In other words, there must be some official pitch as to why the Assembly will improve the decision-making process surrounding these very important issues.

However, it isn’t obvious to me what this official explanation actually is. Consider again the characteristics of the members of the Assembly: those who are “entitled to vote at a referendum, randomly selected so as to be broadly representative of Irish society”.

The implication of this choice seems to be (1) that our TDs and Senators are not broadly representative of Irish society and (2) that the best way to make decisions on these topics is to include people in the process who are broadly representative of Irish society.

I expect neither of these claims will strike you as being anything but obvious, but what I want to highlight here is that these claims are being made, or at least implied, by the state itself. It’s one thing for you or I to have little confidence in the ability of our politicians to make the right decisions, but it’s quite another for the state itself to admit that our elected officials aren’t “broadly representative of Irish society”.

Has the state failed to represent us properly, and is the establishment of the Citizens' Assembly an admission of defeat?
except that the gov will still decide the referendum question if there ever is one

you may consider yourself a genius but we already have a threads on the 8th and the CA, don't need another one
 
Last edited:

drummed

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 22, 2010
Messages
36,191
You could make an argument that a citizens' assembly can be solely focused on the issues given to it, whereas a parliament has the routine issues such as budgets and committees to deal with and cannot be so narrowly focused. Of course, I agree with everyone else though, it's absolute political cowardice and designed to give FG cover with conservative voters when the time comes.
Ah yeah, except the guns and bibles voters are in all parties. SF could split for example over this. No party is free of blame here.
 

ger12

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 25, 2011
Messages
47,680
The so called "Citizens Assembly" is unconstitutional and a thump in the face to every ordinary Irish voter.

It is the product of a mind riding madly off in all directions except the one that matters.
How is it unconstitutional exactly?
 

Cruimh

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 30, 2010
Messages
83,462
This month saw the launch of a new “Citizens’ Assembly”, which consists of 99 “citizens entitled to vote at a referendum, randomly selected so as to be broadly representative of Irish society” and one Supreme Court judge.

99 seems a small number to broadly represent millions - and if they are randomly selected how can they be sure they will be representative?

And Who chooses which SC Judge?
 


New Threads

Popular Threads

Most Replies

Top