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We the citizens have a clear idea of what our needs are already

If you can't change the parliament, or even get into it, why not start a new one. Last week, a new people's political initiative called 'We the Citizens' was launched, with much fanfare and generous funding from Chuck Feeney's Atlantic Philanthrophies. But what exactly does it stand for?

With the slogan 'Speak up for Ireland', the aim is hardly revolutionary. An opinion poll company is to carry out a survey of 1,000 citizens to get their views, after which 150 people, representing a cross-section of society, will be invited to participate in an assembly, so as to come to 'informed decisions about issues related to how government operates'. So it's like a giant focus group, except this time presided over by academics instead of politicians.

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