The Irish Constitutional Convention: Giving Citizens a Voice in Constitutional Debates

"In late 2012, the Irish government established a Constitutional Convention
Chaired by Tom Arnold (the former chief executive of the leading Irish international charity, Concern), the other 99 members of the Convention consist of 66 citizens and 33 elected legislators. Whereas the parties could determine by themselves how to select their members, the citizen members were selected at random by a survey company, which had a brief of ensuring that the membership was a fair reflection of the population in terms of gender, age, region, education and socio-economic status.
it has certainly had some impact already on the quality of democracy in Ireland. Emulating the same principles of deliberative democracy used in the British Columbia, Ontario and Dutch citizens’ assemblies, this provides a useful addition to our contemporary system of representative democracy. Something for other countries to emulate?"

This initiative can be ranked on the intermediate level in terms of using agile democracy principles, but it is demonstrating first the limits of representative democracy, and second the creativity delivered by European citizens and legislators to tackle the democratic deficit.

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