Presidential Age Referendum obscured bigger constitutional issues – Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Equality Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD has commented on the failure of the Presidential Age Referendum, highlighting the fact that though Sinn Féin had supported the referendum, there were constitutional issues of greater significance which the Government have failed to address.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:
“Sinn Féin is a republican party. Equality and democracy is central to the republican vision. We supported this referendum, believing that if someone is capable of being nominated to run for President, then it should be up to the people to decide to change this arbitrarily chosen age.
“However, the people have spoken and a majority are not ready yet for constitutional change. We have to respect that.
“It must be noted that this was a referendum brought about by a government that failed to deal with bigger constitutional issues. These include the extension of voting rights to the Diaspora and Irish Citizens in the north.
“The Government has also reneged on its commitment to hold a referendum on extending the right to vote to 16 and 17 year olds by the end of 2015.
“The Presidential Age Referendum though worthy in itself, was essentially a tick boxing exercise by the government. Extending voting rights to the young, the diaspora or Irish citizens would have had a greater impact on our democracy.”