Speaking in the Seanad today Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Youth Affairs Senator Kathryn Reilly raised the issue of the inclusion of Politics as an examinable Leaving Certificate Subject and highlighted the complimentary role it would play, alongside a potential reduction in the voting age, for increasing young people’s participation in public life.
Speaking in the Seanad, she said:
“We live in a more and more globalised, politicised world where young people are connected through various social media platforms. Any argument that young people are too apathetic or incompetent to engage in the political process is made redundant when we see how vocal young people are through social media on domestic and global issues.
“In order to facilitate young people’s engagement in the political world, the inclusion of Politics and Society as a Leaving Certificate subject is a welcome step. The more young people learn how politics operate and are given the tools to understand and analyse themselves, the more likely they will be to engage through voting.
“The call for the reduction of the voting age to 16 by the constitutional convention, coupled with the introduction of this subject in school is a logical combination. If we expect younger citizens to vote from that age in this state, we should provide an introduction to the political system.
"In my own view, young people are knowledgeable and passionate about the world in which they live. They are as capable of engaging in the democratic system as any other citizen provided they are given a voice and the option.”