Updated: 24/10/16 : 04:26:26
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Citizens Assembly 'farce' excludes all Sligo

By Eugene McGloin

ALL SLIGO is unrepresented in the new Citizens Assembly which met for the first time earlier this month.

Just two counties, Dublin and Cork, make up over 40% of the 99 members in the new body.

But ten counties, including Sligo, have no representative whatever.

Leitrim and Cavan -- in the same current Dail constituency as Sligo -- also have NO rep in the new body.

Details emerged in a study by The Irish Mail on Sunday newspaper yesterday.

The Citizens Assembly will look at the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution and a range of other questions in the coming months.

Rural Based

The Eighth Amendment -- dubbed the 'anti abortion' Amendment -- was overwhelmingly adopted in 1983.

The sprawling Laois/Offaly constituency in the midlands has also been entirely omitted.

Other counties left out in the cold include: Kerry, Kilkenny, Carlow and Longford.

Most of the counties excluded from the new Citizens Assembly are rural based, said the newspaper.

Mayo and Donegal have each had four representatives picked in the new Citizens Assembly.

The body is headed by a judge but has no Constitutional basis.

Dubbed Farce

Meanwhile, the process has already been dubbed a ''farce'' by TD Mattie McGrath.

His area of Tipperary is one of those not represented in the new set-up.

Deputy McGrath said yesterday that the absences had, said the newspaper, ''implications for the legitimacy and authority of the body."

Added Deputy McGrath: ''If rural Ireland is excluded to that extent, it's a mockery.''

Best Practice

The newspaper itself described it as 'The Assembly that speaks for (some) Citizens.'

But Red C, the national polling company which choose the new members has defended the outcome:-

''It was determined using population statistics from the Census how many points would be needed within each broad area to be representative of the national population. 

''This means,'' added Red C, ''that points were selected based on random choice within 15 broad regional areas, and may mean that not all counties are included.''

The Red C company said the sampling approach it used was ''in line with best practice.''