News

Sinn Fein plans to reduce voting age

By: Enda Coll.

A Sinn Fein Senator will bring forward legislation that will allow the voting age for elections to be reduced to 16 years old, to the Sinn Fein Private Members’ meeting, later today.

Former Mayor of South Dublin, Fintan Warfield seeks to lower the age for voting on Local and European elections from 18 to 16.

Warfield plans to have the bill passed in time for the 2019 elections stating that young people have a ‘cutting edge of change’.

“The referendum for Scottish independence and the referendum for civil marriage equality represent a reality that young people are at the cutting edge of change.”, Warfield said.

“Their voices must begin to be heard by our political representatives, who at times have proven themselves to be out of touch with young people, and in turn struggle to hold their political representatives to account.

“Only by widening the political franchise can we guarantee that the rights of young people stay firmly on the agenda of politicians.”

If the bill passes, Ireland would become the third country in the European Union to lower the age to 16, along with Austria and Scotland.

The bill is seconded by Independent Senator Lynn Ruane who said that there are too many decisions being taken out of the hands of those most affected. .

“It’s a sad fact that it is young people who are most affected by political decisions taken today but have no voice in who makes those decisions for them.” Ruane said.

“Inclusion of Irish citizens between the ages of 16 and 18 in the democratic process is the only way this will ever change.”

As Brexit nears, Ruane believes it is important for the younger generation to decide on Ireland’s future in the EU.

“During this crucial period for the future of the European Union, we need young people to have a voice in deciding our future role in a post-Brexit EU.”

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