Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Exclusion of youth from the political process must be addressed immediately

6 May, 2004

Sinn Féin North West EU candidate Pearse Doherty has today said that the "exclusion of young people from the political process needs to be addressed immediately". Mr. Doherty expressed concern at a published poll conducted by the National Youth Federation, which said that nine out of ten young people could not name a single MEP in their area and only half could name one of their local TD's.

"The content of the report is very worrying, yet not entirely surprising. Across the state, there has been a general disengagement with the political process over a number of years. The current government must accept a considerable degree of responsibility for the disillusionment many citizens now feel.

"Further evidence, supplied by the National Youth Federation, that young people in this state are detached from politics, does not bode well for the future of the political process in this state. However, this situation can be addressed, to give young people a voice in politics.

"Sinn Féin has consistently called for 16 year olds to be include in the democratic process by being given the vote. We recognise that this is not a panacea for all of the problems of exclusion but it would be a step in the right direction. Local authorities and state agencies must be involved in creating ways in which our youth can have representation and a real input into the services and policies which affect them.

"Sinn Féin continues to listen and engage with young people throughout Ireland, so that they can take ownership of politics and feel confident in engaging in the process. The Sinn Féin youth wing (Ogra Shinn Féin) continues to be largest growing youth organisation of all of the political parties in Ireland.

"The exclusion of young people from the political process needs to be addressed immediately. Sinn Féin will play its part in this." ENDS

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