Sinn Féin - On Your Side

We must give Young People a greater say in decision making

13 December, 2007


Sinn Féin North Antrim MLA Daithí McKay, who is the one of the youngest Assembly members, has said that we need to do much more to involve young people in decision making. He is calling for the voting age to be lowered to 16 and for the establishment of a Youth Assembly.

Mr McKay said:

"Politicians take decisions every day of the week that impact directly on the lives of our young people, and decisions that will have a long term effect on their future.

"Yet young people are one of the groups most disenfranchised from the democratic process.

"We need to tackle this democratic deficit.

"Young People deserve to have a greater say in decision making. One clear way to do this is to lower the voting age to 16 so that young people can have a more direct influence on the politicians that get elected. Another would be to see the commitment on setting up a Youth Assembly delivered.

"At 16 young people already have the legal right make important decisions about their own future and important social responsibilities. We need to further empower our young people and increase their say and their stake in our future.

"I believe that these are two key steps that could be taken to get more young people involved in politics. And I believe that we will all benefit from this." ENDS

Note to Editors

Motions to Assembly

Reduction of Voting Age

That this Assembly calls for the voting age to be reduced to 16 years of age; and will work to ensure that young people are given the voice that they deserve.

[Mr D McKay]
[15 November 2007]

Youth Assembly

That this Assembly affirms its commitment to establishing a Youth Assembly, to ensure that young people have a voice and an effective input into the decision making process, particularly in relation to shaping youth policy; and calls on the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister to ensure that the necessary resources are provided for the Youth Assembly.

[Mr D McKay]
[27 November 2007]

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