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    Ireland's National Forum on Europe: Elite Deliberation Meets Popular Participation

    O'Brennan, John (2004) Ireland's National Forum on Europe: Elite Deliberation Meets Popular Participation. Journal of European Integration, 26 (2). pp. 171-189. ISSN 0703-6337

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    In the wake of the rejection of the Nice Treaty by the electorate in June 2001, the Irish government moved to establish a National Forum on Europe, which was to be the arena for a new socially inclusive and highly visible dialogue on issues arising out of Irish membership of the European Union (EU). The Forum represented an entirely novel approach to consideration of European affairs in Ireland and, as such, an acknowledgement that the old era of ‘permissive consensus’ on EU issues had gone. This article utilises insights from deliberative democracy to analyse the new Irish discourse on Europe that the Forum has helped articulate. The analysis suggests that the Forum has successfully widened the scope and substance of Irish attitudes to Europe. Most importantly, it has helped shift the emphasis from functional costbenefit considerations related to receipts from the CAP and structural funding, to more broad-based and ‘mainstream’ consideration, which encompass the broad ambit of issues connected to the future direction of the European integration project. The article also argues that the Forum has engaged a wider and more inclusive group of societal actors in European debate. Thus, Irish EU debate is no longer concentrated among traditional elites — the political parties, trade unions, business groups and academics. Finally, the article assesses the extent to which the Forum has encouraged greater popular participation in EU debate.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: European integration; Ireland and the EU; popular participation; deliberative democracy; democratic deficit; Nice Treaty;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology
    Item ID: 7975
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: John O'Brennan
    Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2017 13:58
    Journal or Publication Title: Journal of European Integration
    Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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