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We should judge Presidential candidates on their merit and not on their age – Reilly

31 March, 2015

Sinn Féin Senator and Youth Affairs Spokesperson Kathryn Reilly today spoke favourably on the reduction of the ‘Age of Eligibility for Election to the Office of President’.

Senator Reilly said:

“The lowering of the age for presidential candidates would serve to empower young people and it would also serve to kick start the promotion and awareness of and participation in politics among young people in terms of the issues affecting them.”

“The earlier we can engage young people in democracy and politics, the greater the chance that we will promote and sustain a lifelong interest in and commitment to voting and participating in the democratic process.”

“Most Deputies, including the Minister, the Chairman, and I, probably entered politics young. Most of us became interested at a young age, probably in our mid to late teens. Indeed, I have been working in the Houses of the Oireachtas since I was 20. I was elected to this House at the age of 22.”

 “If I have electoral ambitions to be President, after having gone through college and acquired experience in these Houses, why should my age preclude me? Why should I have to be older if the electorate themselves feel I can do a good job?”

 “Why should I, or any other young person in Ireland, be discriminated against by ageist policies? We would not discriminate against people because of skin colour, religion, or sex so why should we accept discrimination against people because of their age?”

“The electorate should have the choice to elect who they see fit rather than have a restricted choice available to them on polling day.”

 “We should judge each candidate on their merit and not on their age.” 

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