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Government refuses to hold referendum on reduction of voting age - Reilly

15 January, 2015

Sinn Féin Senator Kathryn Reilly has spoken out against the government’s refusal to hold a referendum on the reduction of the voting age, in light of the Government’s declaration yesterday that it will hold only two additional referenda before the next general election.

Senator Reilly said:

 “Yesterday’s statement by the government that it will only hold two further referenda before its tenure comes to an end is quite astonishing for a number of reasons. In the main the government is reneging on many of its previous commitments, not least its pledge to hold a referendum on the reduction of the voting age. There is a great irony in the government’s refusal to hold such a referendum given that it was endorsed by a Constitutional Convention set up at their bequest.”

Senator Reilly further added:

“It is 43 years since the referendum reducing the legal voting age in Ireland from 21 to 18 was held, and I believe, as did the Constitutional Convention, that it is time this nation decided as to whether that age limit should be lowered.”

“I have previously stated that young people are engaging in the world in a phenomenally different way to that which they did 43 years ago. Our youth are now naturally more inquisitive and are questioning their place in society and the society which has developed around them like never before.  And yet, while you are at the mercy of government policy which directly affects you as a 16 or 17 year old, you have no say in who should make up that government or what their policies should be.

“The reality is that this government is afraid to hold a referendum which will empower the people it has disadvantaged the most, presently and for the future.”

“Sinn Féin has long been in favor of this referendum being held, and on 6th February, an amendment to reduce the voting age from 18 years to 16 years as proposed by our Laois-Offaly TD, Brian Stanley, has successfully been selected to be debated in the Dáil. I am again taking this opportunity to call on this government to honor its commitment and hold a referendum on the reduction of the voting age in this state.”

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