Amárach used a three-stage recruitment process as follows:
Certain categories of citizens were excluded via the screening process, including:
- Certain categories of politicians and political party members
- Journalists and others working in the media
- Those campaigning on aspects of gender equality
- Those not eligible to vote in a referendum
Direct applications from members of the public to take part in the Assembly were not accepted, as the members of the Assembly had to be chosen at random to ensure a completely unbiased approach and be broadly representative of all citizens using demographic variables as reflected in the Census. While some members may live in the same area interviewers were not allowed to recruit friends or family together.
The two-stage verification process ensures that those not eligible to be part of the Citizens’ Assembly or who are were not recruited via the proper procedure are not included in the final composition of the Assembly.
Impact of Covid 19
Due to Covid 19 and resulting restrictions in public gatherings, after just one weekend meeting, the Citizens’ Assembly had to postpone its meetings scheduled for March, April, May and July (which had been intended as the last meeting of the Assembly). The resulting extension to the work of the Assembly, as well as changed circumstances for some members, led to a limited number of members having to leave the process before the Assembly resumed its work online in October 2020. It should be noted that some turnover of members was also a feature of the previous Citizens’ Assembly and had been anticipated at the outset.
The Assembly was therefore able to replace some of these members through a substitutes panel which had also been recruited door-to-door as set out above. However there were some vacancies involving certain combinations of demographic variables which were not sufficiently available on the substitutes panel.
Due to public health restrictions, a door-to-door recruitment method could not be used. Therefore, Amárach recommended recruiting by telephoning members of its existing research panel of nearly 5,000 adults who met the socio-demographic profile of the existing vacancies. A large number of members of the Amárach panel were previously recruited randomly by door-to-door and telephone recruitment methods. Therefore candidates recruited by these methods were deemed eligible to fill existing vacancies if they met all other criteria. Similar to previously recruited members, those approached needed to be eligible to vote in a referendum. Politicians, their families and political party officeholders; journalists and others working in the media and market research and those campaigning on aspects of gender equality were ineligible.
The same two-stage verification process for members as applied to the original members was used.
Click here for a list of current Members of the Assembly.