McAuliffe welcomes the speedy appointment of Paul Reid as Chair of the Citizens Assembly on Drugs

Published on: 28 February 2023

Fianna Fáil Deputy Paul McAuliffe has welcomed the Government’s speedy appointment of Paul Reid as the Independent Chairperson of the upcoming Citizens Assembly on Drugs. 


The Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use was established following resolutions in Dáil and Seanad Éireann in late February. The Terms of Reference call on the Citizens’ Assembly to examine and make recommendations on the legislative, policy and operational changes the State could make to significantly reduce the harmful impacts of illicit drugs on individuals, families, communities and wider society.


“I’m delighted the Government have moved speedily to appoint Paul Reid as the independent chair of the Citizens Assembly on drugs. Paul has vast experience and will be a valuable asset to the assembly as it carries out its work,” said Deputy McAuliffe.  


The Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin North West has been a long-time supporter of changing Ireland’s criminal justice approach to drug use and recently co-hosted a podcast on the issue alongside Councillor Briege MacOscar. Drugs and Ireland, produced by Fianna Fáil looked ahead to the Citizens Assembly and examined the situation regarding drug use in Ireland currently. 


“The Citizens Assembly on Drugs is going to offer the country space to have an important conversation around drug use and how we deal with drug users in this country. It’s important we hear from experts from across the divide and I believe the public is ahead of politics on this issue. Decriminalisation of the drug user is an important step we can make to reduce the harms and punishment the current system puts on people. I look forward to the Citizens Assembly on Drugs and on engaging with its recommendations within the Houses of the Oireachtas,” added the Dublin North West TD. 


The Citizens’ Assembly will consist of 100 members, including the independent Chairperson and 99 members of the general public, who will be chosen through a random selection process.


Over the coming week, 20,000 households around Ireland will receive letters from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar inviting someone from the household to apply to join the Citizens’ Assembly. From the applications received, the final 99 members will be chosen based on their age profile, gender and location. Those who receive an invitation will have until 19th March to apply via


The first meeting of the Citizens’ Assembly is scheduled to take place on April 14th, and it is due to complete its work and submit its report to the Houses of the Oireachtas by the end of the year.



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