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New Politics course creates impetus for reducing the voting age – Reilly

12 November, 2015 - by Kathryn Reilly


Responding to the announcement that a new Leaving Certificate course on Politics and Society will be available from next September and it will be available to everyone by 2018, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Youth Affairs said that this has created an impetus for reducing the voting age to 16, as per the constitutional convention recommendation.

Senator Reilly said:

“I welcome the introduction of Politics and Society to the Leaving Cert curriculum. Its introduction is long overdue and it represents an important step in the political education of young people.

“In the wake of the marriage referendum and the large swathes of young people who registered to vote, who campaigned and were active on this issue, it is clear that young people are not politically apathetic, as often presented.

“The introduction of this course is only one step that should be taken on young people’s political empowerment. Now I think we need to renew the calls for a referendum on reducing the voting age to 16 for young people.

“Nearly three years on from a Constitutional Convention’s recommendation on reducing the voting age to 17 and a further recommendation, by 48% of members, that the voting age be reduced to 16, nothing has happened. No referendum materialised and young people are being left out of the political process.

“Young people need to be assured that they have a place in Irish society and that their voices will be heard. Without the opportunity to vote, we cannot offer them these assurances. Politics does not exist in a vacuum, separate of time and space, it is happening around us, and it directly affects 16 and 17 year olds daily. It is unfair to deny them the right to participate in the democratic process which is continuously shaping their present and future, particularly as they will now be studying the subject in schools.” 

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