We the Citizens is a democratic participatory project to ignite citizen involvement in democracy in Ireland. A pilot project found striking shifts in how participants feel about their ability to influence politics. The project tested whether a more participatory form of democracy could work in Ireland at a time when people felt adrift and disconnected from power. In the project, a representative group of citizens were randomly chosen to attend a Citizens’ Assembly in June 2011.
After the assembly, participants showed a greater interest in politics, expressed more willingness to discuss and become involved in politics, and felt more positive about the ability of ordinary people to influence politics. The model later became a template for the Irish Constitutional Convention and many of the team were also part of the Academic And Legal Support Group of the Convention.
In late 2012 the Irish government established the Convention on the Constitution, which followed many of the procedures spearheaded by We The Citizens — with citizen members at the core and following carefully facilitated and informed small group discussions. In this brief video some of those involved in the Convention, as members, organisers or observers, reflect on its legacy.