Sir, – The Minister for Health was quick to defend the process by which people were recruited to the Citizens’ Assembly (“Heated exchanges in Dáil”, February 22nd), however the recent scandal in its recruitment of members is merely the latest in a series of problems.
From its conception it has proved to be problematic. Its purpose, it seems, was to remove responsibility for the abortion issue from members of the citizens’ assembly we call the Dáil. That responsibility was given to a number of citizens that were chosen by a private, for-profit business. When the Citizens’ Assembly opened it was revealed that one member had expressed strong pro-choice views on social media.
Apparently the company that chose this man failed to see or know this.
Extraordinarily, it was also revealed at the opening of the assembly that only 16 of the 26 counties were represented. Large parts of the country had no members or were under-represented.
For example, three members were from Galway while seven were from Clare, despite the fact that the population of Galway is 2.25 times that of Clare. Questions were raised at the time about the bias this would create. The bias skewed towards urban areas that could be expected to support repeal, and surely this has to be considered.
When they voted on abortion, 60 per cent of these supposed representatives of ours voted for abortion up to and even well beyond 12 weeks. Contrast that with the 40 per cent support rate for a 12-week limit in recent opinion polls. In the light of this and the very strange circumstances under which replacement members were recruited (“Individuals removed after recruiter used personal contacts to fill vacant positions”, News, February 21st), it is now time, in the interests of transparency and democracy, for our political representatives to do the right thing and implement an inquiry into the matter and halt this fatally flawed referendum process. – Yours, etc,
Newmarket on Fergus,