[Sinn Fein]

10 November 2000

Sinn Fein's youth wing calls for voting age to be reduced to 16

Sinn Fein's youth wing has called for the voting age to be reduced from 18 to 16 to increase young people's involvement in politics and the future direction of society.  

Ógra Shinn Fein spokesperson, Carrickmacross, County Monaghan, Councillor Matt Carthy, also called for the age for Dáil candidates to be lowered from 21 to 16.  Cllr Carthy said:

``If young people are considered responsible enough to get married at 16, to join the Defence Forces at 16 and leave school to join the workforce and become a tax-payer at 16, there is no reasonable cause for preventing them from getting involved in politics and helping to shape the future of the society that they and their children will inherit.  They should be allowed to vote and stand for election at 16.

``The stupidity of the existing system is highlighted by the fact that young people can vote at 18 but cannot stand for Dáil election until they are 21.  Why not?

``Politics extend beyond the Dáil and local authorities - through community groups and trade unions, for instance - but the Oireachtas should lead the way in opening up the system to young people as early as possible.   ENDS

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