Updated: 22/02/18 : 05:11:51
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Sligo graduate in audit of Citizens Assembly crux

By Eugene McGloin
Political Editor

A SLIGO graduate was part of the Red C internal audit which led to seven members of the Citizens Assembly being dropped, it emerged last night, Wednesday.

She is Ciara Clarke and has worked with the Red C polling company for the past decade.

The recent crux arose when members who recently joined the Citizens Assembly as replacements were found to have to have been recruited by phone.

The sole Red C recruiter involved in the incident is also believed to have made selections through recommendations by friends and family.

Red C protocols required that members of the Assembly could only be selected by “randomised” door-to-door recruitment.

The 15 page internal audit by Red C found that the “irregular recruitment” is confined to “one incident and one interviewer.”

Red C said it “fully stands over the integrity of its work for the Citizens’ Assembly prior to this isolated incident.”

In a statement yesterday, RED C "apologised unreservedly".

The Sligo graduate holds a Bachelor in Business Studies which specialised In Marketing, from Sligo Institute of Technology.

Ms Clarke, who is an associate director of Red C, also holds a Masters degree from the Smurfit Business School.

The other person involved in the audit was Red C’s Marketing Director Sinead Mooney, who has 25 years experience.

Meanwhile, last night’s revelations brought calls from the ‘pro life campaign’ for a full audit of all previous processes at the Citizens Assembly.

Dr. Ruth Cullen said the developments were deeply worrying and warrant full and immediate investigation. 

"Given the importance of the topics that the Assembly was charged with deliberating on, there can be no delay in bringing this about,” said Dr Cullen.

No Impact

However, the Chair of the Citizens Assembly Chair, Judge Mary Laffoy also said it was isolated incident and she wished to assure the public “in the clearest possible terms.

“I am satisfied that this is an isolated incident, and that it has no impact on the work of the Assembly on previous topics,” said Judge Laffoy.

In some quarters the Citizens Assembly has faced controversy from the get-go.

Sligo Excluded

Sixteen counties including Sligo had no representative — a population of over half a million people were not included in the 99 representatives  offered by Red C.

The audit report reveals that Red C “made it clear” to the Citizens Assembly that it would be “extremely difficult” to ensure a sample of 99, “however well recruited” could be representative.

The margin of error in such a process is high at plus or minus ten percent, Red C cautioned.

There was later controversy when it a was learned that a ‘pro choice’ supporter was originally picked as a member of the Assembly.

You can read a full copy of the audit conducted by RED C Research & Marketing Ltd.
See link below.