Latest: Pro Life Campaign calls for full audit of Citizen's Assembly recruitment process

Update 8.10pm: The Pro Life Campaign has this evening called for a full and immediate audit of the recruitment process employed by RED C Research & Marketing Ltd. in relation to members of the Citizen's Assembly.

The call comes after it was revealed by Red C that seven replacement members of the Citizen's Assembly were recruited in a manner that did not comply with agreed methods.

Members who had withdrawn from the Assembly were replaced over the Christmas period in December 2017 and January 2018.

The seven individuals, it emerged, were only present at the Citizens' Assembly's most recent weekend meeting on January 13 and 14 when it considered and voted on the Manner in which Referenda are held.

The individuals were contacted by phone in December 2017 rather than being recruited door-to-door, and were identified as potential members through friends and family of the recruiter.

In a statement today, RED C "apologised unreservedly".

Reacting earlier today the Citizen's Assembly said, in a statement, that the recruitment process in this case had "no impact on the work of the Assembly on previous topics or on its final topic."

Commenting this evening, however, PLC spokesperson Dr. Ruth Cullen said the developments were deeply worrying and warrant full and immediate investigation.

"Given the importance of the topics that the Assembly was charged with deliberating on, there can be no delay in bringing this about."

"The latest revelations are not the first time that concerns of this nature have arisen.

She went on to suggest that on the very first day of the Assembly, the Chairperson had to issue a statement when it became public that a pro-choice activist had been selected as a member of the Assembly contrary to the guidelines issued to the recruitment company.

"What has transpired brings the entire Citizen's Assembly process into serious disrepute," she concluded.

Chair of the Assembly, the Hon. Mary Laffoy

Earlier: Replacement members of Citizen's Assembly 'were not recruited in correct manner'

Seven replacement members of the Citizen's Assembly were recruited in a manner that did not comply with agreed methods, it has been revealed.

Members who had withdrawn from the Assembly were replaced over the Christmas period in December 2017 and January 2018.

The seven individuals were only present at the Citizens' Assembly's most recent weekend meeting on January 13 and 14 when it considered and voted on the Manner in which Referenda are held.

The Chair of the Assembly, the Hon. Mary Laffoy was made aware of the issue since the conclusion of the weekend meeting in mid-January.

RED C Research & Marketing Ltd. have conducted an extensive audit of the recruitment of members of the Assembly and have stated that it is "satisfied that this was an isolated incident, and fully stands over the integrity of its work for the Citizens’ Assembly prior to this isolated incident".

The replacement members were found to have been recruited in a different way than that which had been approved.

The individuals were contacted by phone in December 2017 rather than being recruited door-to-door, and were identified as potential members through friends and family of the recruiter.

In a statement issued today, RED C said: "The irregular recruitment in question was conducted by one recruiter who has co-operated fully with our investigation and with whom no issues have previously arisen.

"RED C has apologised unreservedly to the Citizens’ Assembly, and the 7 members affected for any impact that this irregular recruitment has had on the Citizens’ Assembly and the weekend meeting of 13th & 14th January.

"It is always RED C’s aim to provide the highest quality of research services. The approach, procedures and verification put in place on this project were all designed to ensure delivery of that same high quality.

"Again, RED C stresses that they are satisfied that this was an isolated incident which has no impact whatsoever on the stringent recruitment procedures used throughout previous Citizens’ Assembly meetings."

The Citizen's Assembly have also released a statement on the matter which states: "In reviewing the outcome of the weekend meeting on The Manner in which referenda are held, because of the fact that seven members were not recruited in compliance with the agreed methodology, the majority view of the Assembly cannot now be determined in respect of Question 7, Question 8b, Question 10a and Question 10b.

"In the interests of transparency and in keeping with the principles of the Assembly, the Chair of the Assembly, the Hon. Mary Laffoy, has decided that the Assembly’s report to the Oireachtas on this topic will provide full details of this issue.

"The Chair is satisfied that this has no impact on the work of the Assembly on previous topics or on its final topic."

Speaking about these developments, the Chair of the Assembly, the Hon. Mary Laffoy stated: "I want to assure the public in the clearest possible terms, that I am satisfied that this is an isolated incident, and that it has no impact on the work of the Assembly on previous topics.

"I can also confirm that the seven individuals in question have been informed of the position and as such will play no further part in the work of the Assembly.

"While this incident is regrettable, I believe that the actions which we have taken and will take to address the situation, ensure that the robustness of our work and the transparency and openness in which it has been conducted, can be maintained.

"The Assembly has, at all times taken every aspect of its work with the upmost seriousness, including ensuring that its membership is representative of the population as reflected in the Census.”

You can read a full copy of the audit conducted by RED C Research & Marketing Ltd. here

Digital Desk


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