“Sixty-six citizens are about to get the chance to make a new democratic reality.
They can constitute themselves as a free, open, deliberative forum that engages in a calm but urgent way with the reality that is so clearly before our eyes: that the Irish Republic, insofar as it ever existed, has collapsed and that, before it can be rebuilt, it must be reimagined.
They can hold their own meeting, set their own agenda, decide for themselves what is and is not of urgent importance. They can start from scratch by asking basic and potent questions:
what is a republic? Is Ireland one? And, if not, what does it need to do to become a republic?
…it would have immense power – the freedom to excite and engage and energise one’s fellow citizens by the simple act of standing up and saying “We can think for ourselves and talk for ourselves.”
…a citizens’ assembly to “collectively design the kind of Republic that meets the needs and aspirations of the Irish people”.
This could be a spark for peaceful, democratic change. What we need right now is not so much a new constitution as the courage and self-confidence to believe that we ourselves are fit to make a new republic.”
from We ourselves are fit to make a new republic by Fintan O’Toole, Irish Times, 11/9/2012