Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has described the first meeting of the Constitutional Convention as a very positive beginning to what will be an innovative and exciting project over the next 12 months. The first meeting of the Convention was held on Saturday, December 1st, in Dublin Castle. Deputy Doherty added that she intends to write to local secondary schools in Meath to encourage pupils to have an input into to the Convention.
“Saturday was an extremely interesting and positive experience, when 66 members of the public joined politicians from all parties to take part in the first session of the Constitutional Convention.
“I am particularly looking forward to the next session in January, which will focus on small round table discussions. I hope this will help to ensure that the ordinary citizens who are taking the time to participate in the Convention will have maximum input. Making your voice heard can be a daunting prospect for people who are not accustomed to public meetings, committees and politics in general. So it’s up to us all to ensure we make the discussions and conversations as accessible and effective as possible.
“I was extremely impressed with the role played by Tom Arnold, who I have no doubt will be a fair, impartial and effective Chairman. Speaking on Saturday, Tom made the point that we need to make sure we reach out to those who may not be represented on the Convention. With this in mind, I intend to write to the principals of secondary schools across Meath to outline what we will be discussing over the next 12 months. I will encourage schools to discuss the Convention during CSPE class, and if any students would like to make a submission they can send them on to me, or directly to the Convention.
“I am delighted to be involved in this process. As the Taoiseach said at the weekend, Saturday’s meeting was an historic event in the political and democratic life of this country. By working together, I am confident that the Convention can compile a comprehensive set of proposals on Constitutional reform.
“At our next meeting, we will get the chance to get our teeth into the first two matters before us; voting age and the Presidential term. I look forward to working with my Oireachtas colleagues and members of the public on the Convention throughout 2013 and I hope that in particular we can get young people involved and interested, and allow them to have an input into this extremely important and worthwhile process.”