The Sinn Féin on Local Government, Brian Stanley TD, has introduced a Bill to the Dáil proposing that the voting age for Dáil, European, and Local Elections, as well as constitutional referendums, be lowered to 16. The change would require that a referendum be held to alter the current constitutional provision.
Deputy Stanley said:
“I am introducing this Bill in the hope that it will win all party support and ensure that the voting age is lowered to 16 prior to the next general election. The current government has committed itself to possibly lowering the age to 17, and has said that it will publish a Bill in the New Year. However, I would argue that the age should be set at 16, and that a referendum be held as soon as possible in order to ensure that this takes place before the next general election.”
The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Youth Affairs Senator Kathryn Reilly also said:
“I have met with a range of youth organisations who are calling for this change. The fact that 16 year olds in Scotland were able to vote in the recent referendum caught the imagination of people here. The Scottish referendum blew the myth that young people are apathetic out of the water. Young people drove the turnout in the Scottish referendum in a way that was extraordinary. By doing so, they've shown that they are capable of getting engaged with politics. If we get this right, we will take the first steps to creating a voter generation and democracy will thank us for it. I would hope that all parties in the Oireachtas support our proposal.”