The Iona Institute is an Irish think tank which lobbies for family values, religious freedom, and social conservatism in Ireland. It's often the only organisation batting on the opposite side to the million and one socially 'progressive' quangos and pressure groups in Ireland, not to mention the entire Irish media and political establishment. The sight of one Iona Institute representative arguing against three, four or five people (plus the presenter) on an Irish current affairs show is a regular one.
As we all know, the bishops in Ireland have very little stomach for resisting the liberal agenda, releasing a pastoral letter now and again but otherwise backing away from controversy. Perhaps the most lamentable instance of this was Archbishop Diarmuid Martin's craven behaviour during the same-sex marriage referendum, essentially apologising for the Church's participation in public life.
I have such a high regard for the Iona Institute that the only job that I've applied for outside UCD library, ever since I started there in 2001, was the job of researcher with the Iona Institute. I didn't get it, though.
The Citizen's Assembly is a group of citizens "randomly" chosen in order to examine Ireland's constitutional and propose changes to it. It's a ridiculous entity. In a democracy, the people can lobby their government directly-- why on earth should we need this body?
The answer, of course, is that the Citizen's Assembly exists to suggest socially progressive changes to our Constitution, and to give an aura of "officialdom" and democracy to these suggestions.
The Iona Institute has some very interesting articles on the Citizen's Assembly, here, here, here, and further down the blog archive. Check them out!