Deliberative Democracy in Action Irish-style: The 2011 We the Citizens Pilot Citizens’ Assembly

SPIRe’s Prof. David Farrell reflects on the ‘We the citizens’ experiment in deliberative democracy with co-authors Eoin O’Malley and Jane Suiter  in a recent paper at Irish Political Studies.


The research reported here sets out in some detail an experiment in deliberative democracy that took place in Ireland in 2011. The We the Citizens initiative featured a nationwide pilot citizens’ assembly, the first of its kind in Ireland. It recruited a random selection of Irish residents to deliberate on specific issues relating to the economy and also reform in Irish politics. The paper explains the background to this, setting out how it was done and presenting some headline results. The results also tell us something about contemporary Irish attitudes to the political system.

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