A statement from the 99-person group made the request for public opinions last night, saying the comments are necessary to ensure all sides of the debate can have their voices heard.
Under plans previously announced by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, the independent Citizens’ Assembly group has been tasked with examining potential constitutional changes — including fixed-term parliaments; how referenda are heard; climate change; and ageing population issues.
However, the most contentious issue the group, chaired by Ms Justice Mary Laffoy, has been tasked with considering is whether the eighth amendment of the constitution governing abortion laws in this country should be removed, altered, or remain in place.
After holding its first meeting earlier this month, the Citizens’ Assembly will meet on November 26 to discuss the eighth amendment issue, with several more meetings taking place on the matter before it draws its conclusions next June.
The recommendations will then be sent to a cross-party Dáil committee which will have a further six months to examine what to do, before their findings are sent to the Cabinet and eventually put before the Dáil and Seanad for a vote in 2018.
The length of time it will take for the vote to occur, including the possibility of a referendum at a later stage that year, has led to claims that the abortion issue is being deliberately delayed by Government.
However, the Citizens’ Assembly yesterday said it wants to take time to consider people’s views, and called on the public to send in their submissions on the issue to the group by Friday, December 16, to ensure their voices are heard.
Submissions can be made at citizensassembly.ie or by post to Citizens’ Assembly, 16 Parnell Place, Dublin 1.