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Written Answers - Constitutional Convention

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

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 73.  Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy  asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny  the way citizens are going to be picked to be on the panel for the constitutional convention; and the way a variety of viewpoints will be included without pre-screening or prejudicing potential candidates. [16117/12]

 74.  Deputy Patrick Nulty Information on Patrick Nulty Zoom on Patrick Nulty  asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny  the way the 33 Oireachtas members due to serve on the Constitutional Convention will be selected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15186/12]

 75.  Deputy Alan Farrell Information on Alan Farrell Zoom on Alan Farrell  asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny  when the planned constitutional convention will be formed; and if he will outline the field of expertise that will form part of the Committee. [14700/12]

 76.  Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath  asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny  if he will provide an update on the Constitution Convention. [16395/12]

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 77.  Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath  asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny  the way young persons outside the political system apply for the upcoming Constitutional Convention. [16396/12]

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I propose to take Questions Nos. 73 to 77, inclusive, together.

The Government’s proposals for the Constitutional Convention, including its composition and the topics it will consider, have been made public on www.merrionstreet.ie.

It is proposed that the Convention should consist of 100 members, including a chairperson. 66 will be ordinary citizens and the remaining 33 will be made up of Oireachtas members and one parliamentarian from each of the political parties in Northern Ireland which accept an invitation to be represented.

It is envisaged that the electoral register would be used to select the 66 citizens and that a polling company would be used to make the selection so that it is as representative of society as possible. It is also proposed that the involvement of citizens from Northern Ireland, and of Irish people abroad, will be facilitated by electronic means. Such technology should of course also facilitate the engagement of citizens at home.

In its proposals the Government has said that, rather than appoint experts as members of the Convention, an Expert Advisory Group will be established to provide the Convention with information and advice. This Group would be made up of political scientists, constitutional lawyers and academics. The Convention would be able to call on different experts from this panel according as different topics are examined. Persons on the panel will be expected to give their services ‘pro-bono’.

I have met representatives of the Opposition parties and the Dáil Technical Group to consult them on the Government’s proposals for the Constitutional Convention and they have reverted to me with their views. A further meeting is envisaged when these have been been considered. The Government proposes that the Convention be set up by Resolutions of the Houses of the Oireachtas and these will be introduced in the next session.


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