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The inaugural meeting of the Citizens' Assembly takes place on the 25 of January 2020.

A full calendar of meetings will be available soon.

Generally speaking the format for the meetings will be as follows:

  • Introductory remarks by the Chairperson 
  • Expert presentations 
  • Presentations from civil society and advocacy groups
  • Consideration of submissions by Members of the public 
  • Question and Answer Sessions and Debates 
  • Roundtable discussions

Deliberation and Facilitation of Discussions

Deliberation by Members is a cornerstone of the Assembly exercise. Roundtable discussions were built into the timetable for each Assembly meeting to allow the Members the opportunity to further examine, discuss, debate and enhance their understanding of the material they were considering.

To assist with this discussion, facilitators and note-takers were present at each table. Roomaxx LTD were selected to provide this service following a competitive tendering process.

At the Citizens’ Assembly, roundtable discussions typically took place in two distinct formats. The role of the facilitator/ notetaker was slightly different in each case.

These differences and the roles of the facilitator/ notetaker in each case are explained below.

Roundtable discussions following a presentation

Following a presentation from an expert or invited speaker, the Assembly typically broke off into private session roundtable discussions to allow the Members to discuss what they have heard and to hear each other’s views. The role of the facilitator in those cases was to:

  • Facilitate a discussion in keeping with the Ground Rules and to focus on the conversation starters provided by the secretariat. 
  • Note any questions from the table which the Members would like them to ask on their behalf in the public Q&A session. This must be agreed with all Members and should also include agreement on priority questions with their table in case there isn’t time for every question. This is not obligatory as Members are free to ask questions directly of the panellist.
  • Record a short summary of the discussion for record keeping purposes. Again, this must be agreed with all Members.

Roundtable discussions

From time to time at the Assembly roundtable discussions were scheduled to allow Members to consider matters in more detail; for example, to begin thinking about how recommendations might be formed.

The role of the facilitator in those cases was to:

  • Facilitate a discussion in keeping with the Ground Rules and to focus on the conversation starters provided by the secretariat. 
  • Record a summary of the discussion and feed this back to the Chair of the Assembly in the public session. This must be agreed with all Members. In undertaking this task, the facilitators and Members should have been aware of the following:
  • The facilitator was speaking on behalf of the Members at the table. As such, in describing the discussion the facilitator should avoid language like ‘it is our view/ we believe’. As the facilitator is not part of the discussion, phrases like, ‘it is the view of this table’ ‘some at this table expressed the view’ etc should be used. 
  • Where possible the facilitator should provide feedback on the full range of views expressed at each table. The role of the facilitator in these sessions was not to present an agreed conclusion to a discussion, but rather to summarise the discussion that had taken place. In the spirit of equality of voice, one of the key principles of the Assembly, it is important that the full range of views was aired and reported to the Chair.


Following these discussions, all matters before the Assembly were voted upon and recommendations based on the majority view of the Members that were in turn made to the Houses of the Oireachtas. 

The Government will then provide a response to each recommendation of the Assembly and, if accepting the recommendation, will indicate the timeframe it envisages for the holding of any related referendum.