“I don’t have a clue about clue politics. All politicians are the same. I’ve never voted in my life.”
It is not surprising that these are the most commonly heard phrases from young people when politics is mentioned. And why wouldn’t they express these sentiments? It has long been the agenda by the leading political parties to minimise youth participation in politics.
Even, in theory, simple act of registering to vote has become an arduous task. Not to mention the many 18 year olds who discover too late that one is not automatically registered to vote. We, in Sinn Féin, believe that this barrier to youth participation in politics must be dismantled. It is our policy to automatically register voters as soon as they become eligible to vote. We would also introduce an information awareness programme in all schools.
Politicians make decisions every day that have a long term effect on the future of young people, yet the youth have no say in who represents them. 16 and 17 year olds can of course pay taxes yet they are not entitled to vote. This needs to be changed. The voting age must be lowered to 16.
The current Labour/ Fine Gael government have targeted the youth time and time again forcing the majority of people my age to leave in search for work. A staggering 243 people left Ireland every single day last year, many of them young people. That is just over ten people leaving our shores every hour. Thankfully, for those who have left them with no other choice but to emigrate, they too, like those who have left in the centuries before them, are denied a vote. In order for the Dáil to truly represent the people of this country the diaspora must be given the right to vote.
So let your voice be heard, get registered and VOTE!