Independent TD Mattie McGrath has welcomed confirmation from the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Pascal Donohoe that concerns around the composition of the Citizens Assembly will be investigated by the Department of the Taoiseach. Deputy McGrath was speaking during a Topical Issue debate where he raised the issue of a democratic deficit at the heart of the Assembly after it was found that almost one million people from eleven counties have no representative among its members:
“I was happy to hear the Minister for Reform accept the fairness of my view that concerning the representative nature of the Assembly.
How can we call this a ‘Citizens’ Assembly when almost a million people have not a single person representing their county?
It seems to have been lost on RED C who conducted the original selection process that the outcome of the forum is in all likelihood going to alter our national constitution and will not be limited to a document affecting the fifteen counties that have representative members on it.
There are also growing concerns around the composition of the expert panel advising the Assembly. When these are allied to the democratic issues then it is obvious that the Department of the Taoiseach, which is overseeing this process, has a duty to address these concerns in a far more convincing manner than it has to date,” concluded Deputy McGrath.