Wednesday 13 December 2017

The right to life is too important to be left to a contrived Citizens' Assembly

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Des Hanafin

It appears that the soon-to-be-convened Citizens' Assembly is designed to serve one purpose and one purpose only. That purpose is to pave the way for a referendum on abortion, while allowing government TDs to wash their hands of responsibility for it.

As the new body prepares to meet for the first time, it is worth questioning the legitimacy of such a process in a democratic republic. After all, it is the members of the Oireachtas, chosen by the people, who are charged by the Constitution with the sole and exclusive power of making laws. With that power goes the responsibility to deliberate and debate these laws. That is the duty of our elected representatives.

Based loosely on the same model as the 2012-14 Constitutional Convention, the new Citizens' Assembly is comprised of 99 citizens, chosen by a polling company to be representative of the population at large. RedC, the polling company charged with selecting the members of the assembly, would never dream of publishing a poll based on a sample of 99 to represent the views of a population of 4.75 million.

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