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Senator Kathryn Reilly calls for reduction in voting age

6 November, 2012

The youngest member of the Oireachtas Cavan Senator Kathryn Reilly was today in Belfast where the youngest MLA Sinn Féin’s Megan Fearon presented to the Assembly a motion calling for a reduction in voting age to 16.

Speaking from Stormont Senator Reilly said:
“I am delighted to be here today to support Megan as the youngest MLA in putting forward this motion along with the Green Party. Sixteen and 17 year olds can work full time and contribute fully to society yet they are excluded from the most important decisions of all - elections.

“We live in a highly globalised, politicised world where young people are connected to the world through various social media platforms and any argument that young people are too apathetic or incompetent to engage in the electoral process is redundant.

“These young people are knowledgeable and passionate about the world in which they live, and are as capable of engaging in the democratic system as any other citizen.

“Many young people are feeling disenfranchised from the electoral process even though at 16 young people can be very politically aware and able to make informed choices. It is important that their voice is heard and we encourage as many people within society to take part in the democratic process. We need to grant young people the rights that match their duties and responsibilities.

“I am honoured too to be part of Sinn Féin’s team on the Constitutional Convention and will be pushing fully for full voting rights for 17-year-olds south of the border too. Sinn Féin is disappointed that the government has chosen not to mandate the Convention to look at voting rights for 16-year-olds.”


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