RoI-style citizens’ assembly to be set up in NI

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A “citizens’ assembly” is to be established in Northern Ireland.

It is to be funded by a group called Building Change Trust (BCT), which describes itself as a body which invests in the voluntary sector in Northern Ireland.

It said the idea is to set up “the random selection of up to 100 people from across the region to debate and vote on issues that politicians have been unable to resolve”.

It is part of their “objective to increase public participation in decision making”>

The project will be run by another group called Involve.

The statement announcing the launch said: “The Republic of Ireland is the world leader on the issue after it established a Citizens’ Assembly as part of its commitment to a partnership approach in government.

“In 2016, the Dáil tasked the Citizens’ Assembly with considering and making recommendations on a number of issues including climate change, responding to an ageing population, referendums, fixed term parliaments as well as on the equal right to life on mother and unborn child.

“A proposed Citizens’ Assembly in Northern Ireland would comprise of up to 100 citizens, randomly selected to capture the diversity of the population of Northern Ireland.

“Like a jury, members would be asked to deliberate on an issue or set of issues following the presentation of evidence from a range of experts who would ultimately vote to determine a position.

“The topic for the Citizens’ Assembly would be selected by an independent steering group based on agreed criteria, such as the likelihood of recommendations being acted upon, after consultation with political representatives and others.”