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Cabinet approve citizens' assemblies on gender equality and Dublin's local government

The Assembly on gender equality will look at “the remaining barriers facilitating gender discrimination”.

Chairperson of the Citizens' Assembly Ms Justice Mary Laffoy
Chairperson of the Citizens' Assembly Ms Justice Mary Laffoy
Image: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

CABINET HAS AGREED to establish two new citizens’ assemblies to bring forward proposals on gender equality and the best model of local government for Dublin. 

The Assembly on gender equality will be tasked with looking at “the remaining barriers facilitating gender discrimination” in Ireland. 

It will also be asked for takes on how to “ensure women’s full participation at all levels of decision-making” and how to “recognise the importance of early years parental care”. 

Finally, the Assembly will examine the co-responsibility for care, especially within the family. 

Following consideration of these issues, the Assembly will prioritise its proposals. 

Directly elected mayors

A second Assembly will be held to look at the best model of local government for Dublin. 

This comes following consideration of the outcome of the plebiscites on directly elected mayors for Limerick, Cork and Waterford on 24 May. Limerick voted in favour of a directly elected mayor, while Cork and Waterford voted against one. 

The Assembly will, in particular, look at the issue of a directly elected mayor and their powers. 

Through the Citizens’ Assembly, the people of Dublin will have their say on the future of their governance. 

A government spokesperson has said that if Dublin says yes to a directly elected mayor, the issue may well be re-visited for Cork and Waterford, stating that the government was “keeping an open mind on it”.

The referendum results of the plebiscites were raised at Cabinet by Minister John Paul Phelan. 

While the first election was envisaged to take place in 2022, the government wants to push for a 2021 election now. 

The Citizens’ Assembly is a body comprising the chairperson of 99 citizens, randomly selected to be broadly representative of the Irish electorate. It acts as a means to consider some of the most important issues facing Ireland’s future. 

The conclusions on each topic discussed at an Assembly form the basis of individual reports and recommendations that are submitted to the House of the Oireachtas for further debate.

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