Tuesday, 6 March 2012
Dáil Éireann Debate
101. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Taoiseach in view of the commitment given by the Government in the constitutional convention to examine the issue of same sex marriage, if respected non-governmental organisations (details supplied) will be invited to participate in the constitutional convention and will such NGOs have a permanent place at the discussion table; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12313/12]
I met representatives of the opposition parties and the Dáil Technical Group on 28 February to consult them on the Government’s proposals for the Constitutional Convention. They undertook to revert to me with their views within a week, following which a further meeting is envisaged. The Government’s proposals for the Convention, including its composition, have been made public on www.merrionstreet.ie. We propose that the Convention should consist of 100 members, including a chairperson. Some 66 members would be ordinary citizens. The remaining 33 would be made up of Oireachtas members and one parliamentarian from each of the political parties in Northern Ireland which accept an invitation to be represented.
The Government is conscious that a number of organisations, representing various interests, have signalled a desire to be members of the Convention. However, as indicated above, the Convention is intended to be a forum mainly for ordinary citizens. Of course, the Convention can invite such organisations to make a presentation when matters in which they have a particular interest are being examined. They will of course also be able to make written submissions on any topic.
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