#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 5°C Sunday 23 January 2022
Advertisement

Supreme Court judge to chair assembly on repealing Eighth Amendment

The assembly has a deadline of 12 months from its establishment to complete its work.

File photo of Justice Mary Laffoy with Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny.
File photo of Justice Mary Laffoy with Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

SUPREME COURT JUDGE Justice Mary Laffoy has been named as the chairperson of the upcoming Citizens’ Assembly.

Her appointment was approved by the cabinet today.

The government committed to holding the assembly within six months of being elected.

It will examine the following subjects, before reporting back to the Oireachtas on each:

  • The Eighth Amendment of the Constitution;
  • How we best respond to the challenges and opportunities of an ageing population;
  • Fixed-term parliaments;
  • The manner in which referendums are held;
  • How the State can make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change.

The assembly will also be asked to consider other matters that may be referred to it.

The assembly will comprise the chairperson and 99 citizens randomly selected on the basis of being representative of the Irish electorate in terms of gender, age and regional spread.

Abortion 

The first item which the assembly will consider will be the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution. It came into effect in 1983 after a referendum asked Irish people to vote on the State’s abortion laws.

The wording of the amendment is:

The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.

It is referred to as Article 40.3.3 of the constitution.

The assembly will first make a report and recommendation on this matter to the Houses of the Oireachtas. It will then be referred for consideration to a committee of both houses, the Dáil and the Seanad, which will in turn bring its conclusions to the houses for debate.

The assembly has a deadline of 12 months from its establishment to complete work on all its items.

The estimated set-up cost for the assembly for 2016 is €200,000. This will be provided from within existing resources in the Department of the Taoiseach. The estimated cost for 2017 is approximately €400,000.

Read: We asked every TD if they want to repeal the Eighth Amendment – here’s what they said

Explainer: What is the 8th Amendment?

About the author:

Órla Ryan

Read next:

COMMENTS (155)