Supreme Court judge Mary Laffoy will chair the Citizen’s Assembly, which will examine the issue of the Eighth Amendment.
Ms Justice Laffoy’s appointment was approved by Ministers at their final Cabinet meeting before the summer recess.
The assembly, which will comprise of 99 citizens selected at random, is due to hold its first meeting in September.
Some €600,000 has been budgeted for the assembly’s work.
Ms Justice Laffoy is highly regarded within legal circles and presided over the commission of inquiry into child abuse.