Citizens' Assembly decide to add additional time to discussions

The decision was made during a private session by assembly members

Citizens' Assembly decide to add additional time to discussions

Chairperson and Justice of the Supreme Court Mary Laffoy addressing the inaugural meeting of the Citizens' Assembly in Dublin Castle | Image:

The Citizens' Assembly has decided to allocate additional time to discuss the issue of abortion and the 8th amendment.

They voted to add another weekend of discussions to their work programme, bringing the total to five. 

The decision comes after pro-life spokesperson Cora Sherlock previously said that "with the current time frame, there is no way the assembly will have the time needed to take an exhaustive look at the issue...It simply won’t happen."

The 8th amendment will now be discussed over five weekends in total. 

Chairperson of the Citizens' Assembly,  Ms Justice Mary Laffoy, said: "The Citizens’ Assembly is an exercise in deliberative democracy and we must endeavor to provide you, the citizens, with all the information you require to complete your task. 

"In considering feedback from Members and the range of issues to be covered, I concluded that an additional weekend on the Eighth Amendment was required in order to give full consideration to the issues identified.

"This matter was put to a vote of the Members in private session this weekend, and they agreed with my recommendation."

She concluded saying: "By taking one further weekend I am confident we will be best placed to reach our conclusions. This additional weekend will not affect my commitment to complete the report in respect of the Eighth Amendment within the first half of 2017."