Civil society organisations team up to get people talking about the roles, rights and responsibilities of citizens and State

The Wheel, a network of 1,000 Irish non-profit organisations, and the Carnegie UK Trust, have today announced the launch of a national conversation leading to a new vision for citizenship for 21st Century Ireland. The People’s Conversation – Rethinking Citizenship for 2016 will engage people from all walks of life in creative dialogue on the respective roles, rights and responsibilities of citizens, State and communities.

This month diverse groups of people will start to meet for conversations on values and citizens’ expectations of themselves and of each other. Over the next year the common themes and new ideas emerging from the conversations will be shaped into a new vision for active citizenship and empowered communities.

Ivan Cooper, Director of Advocacy with The Wheel said, “Citizenship is not just about a passport or voting. It’s about our rights and our responsibilities to each other, about what we expect and what is expected of us. It’s the basis for a shared understanding of what a fair and just society means.

“This initiative couldn’t be more timely. Ireland in emerging from a period of deep crisis but there is some concern that we are now slipping back into “business as usual”. We sense there’s a real appetite among the public to have a deep and challenging conversation about what matters to them and the kind of society we want” said Mr Cooper.

Carnegie UK Trust CEO Martyn Evans said, “The relationship between citizens and the state is evolving in Ireland, the UK and beyond. Governments are realising that to improve wellbeing citizens need greater control. In turn citizens expect government to be more responsive and engaged. This raises important questions about what it means to be a citizen in 21st Century Ireland. The Carnegie UK Trust is delighted to be supporting this critical debate.”

The Wheel is partnering with a wide range of civil society organisations to host conversation groups that will feed in to the creation of a new vision for citizenship for 21st century Ireland, with the guidance of a Reference Board drawn from senior figures in civil society, business, media and elsewhere. This vision will contain practical recommendations for change and will be published in advance of the 1916 centenary and expected general election in 2016. The initiative will be formally launched in September at which point members of the public will be invited to convene their own groups to participate in the process.

About The Wheel

The Wheel is a national organisation that represents and supports community, voluntary and charitable organisations in Ireland. Founded in 1999, we currently have almost 1,000 members across Ireland, reflecting the enormous scope and scale of this vibrant and diverse sector. The Wheel exists to help change people’s lives for the better. We do this by helping non-profit organisations get things done, more efficiently and more effectively. The Wheel is registered charity (no. 13288) and a company limited by guarantee. See

About the Carnegie UK Trust

The Carnegie UK Trust works to improve the lives of people throughout the UK and Ireland, by changing minds through influencing policy, and by changing lives through innovative practice and partnership work. The Carnegie UK Trust was established by Scots-American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1913.  For more information please visit

The Trust are pleased to support the People’s Conversation as part of our Enabling State project led by Carnegie Fellow Sir John Elvidge. The People’s Conversation builds on discussions held in Dublin in early 2013 onthe evolving relationship between the state and citizens and communities.. Sir John’s final, accessible report A Routemap to an Enabling State and the background research can be found here.

People’s Conversation to put Citizenship on the Agenda for 2016