Reacting to An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s referenda plans, Sinn Féin spokesperson for the arts, youth affairs and LGBTQI rights Senator Fintan Warfield has criticised the government for failing to uphold their Constitutional Convention mandate to hold a referendum on reducing the voting age from 18 to 16.

Senator Warfield said:

“It has been over four years since the Constitution Convention recommended that the State should consider reducing the voting age to sixteen.

“The Government of the day, of which, An Taoiseach served on the cabinet, accepted this recommendation and announced plans to hold a referendum. Nothing has been heard since.

“The Constitutional Convention was a design of the Fine Gael government who proposed the voting age as a priority in its work. It is now simply not a priority for this Government despite being a forum of Fine Gael’s design mandating the Government to do so.

“In response to questions asked by Sinn Féin on the matter, Fine Gael have stated there are ‘no immediate plans’ for this referendum and even referenced my own proposed legislation, the Electoral (Amendment) (Voting at 16) Bill 2016 as the Department’s focus on the matter.

“This despite the fact that my own proposed legislation does not claim or intend to fulfill the convention’s recommendations and this Government have dealt with said legislation in a cynical manner to date.

“Simply put, the Government have swept this issue under the carpet for whatever reason and it’s no longer acceptable to kick this issue to touch any longer.”