Sinn Féin spokesperson for youth affairs, Senator Fintan Warfield will reintroduce legislation for committee stage in the Seanad tomorrow [Wednesday, 21st March] that seeks to lower the voting age to sixteen in Local and European elections.
The Bill was first debated in the Seanad in March 2017 when Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil voted to delay its progress until this year.
Senator Warfield said:
“I look forward to bringing this legislation back to the Seanad in the hope that it can be enacted before the 2019 Local and European elections, in order to allow up to 120,000 young people aged 16 and 17 years to have their say on the future of Europe and the direction of local democracy.
“The stereotype of young people as apathetic and indifferent to current and political affairs is a redundant one. Scottish independence, civil marriage equality, and now the removal of the 8th amendment represent a reality that is far different, and a younger generation that are driving progress.
“It is vital that the voices of young people are valued in our communities and it is equally important that our political representatives listen to such voices.
“Both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have previously supported lowering the voting age under different guises.
“Having jointly voted to delay this legislation last year in order to consider it further, I hope Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael bring positive engagement to the debate, noting the success of other countries who have extended electoral rights”.