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Warfield and Lynn Ruane welcome ‘Trinity Access 21’ Students to Leinster House

30 September, 2016 - by Fintan Warfield

Sinn Féin Senator Fintan Warfield and Independent Senator Lynn Ruane today hosted twenty-five ‘Trinity Access 21’ students to Leinster House, to discuss the upcoming Electoral Amendment Bill aimed at reducing the voting age to sixteen years of age in local and European elections. 

The Electoral Amendment (Voting at 16) Bill has been tabled in Seanad Éireann by Senator Fintan Warfield and co-signed by Senator Lynn Ruane.

The student voice of these discussions was led by Eoghan Gilroy, a Transition Year student on placement with Senator Ruane, who is participating in the Trinity Access 21 project in Ard Scoil Laselle, Raheny. Eoghan has developed an action research project which invites students to host school discussions on the value of being able to vote at age 16. 

Participating students will return to the Oireachtas in the new term and present this information for inclusion in the bill on behalf of Senators Ruane and Warfield.

Senator Fintan Warfield, Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Youth, Arts & LGBTQI+ Rights, said: 

“Young people are consistently seen as apathetic and indifferent to current and political affairs. The referendum for Scottish independence and the referendum for civil marriage equality represent a reality that is far different. Only by widening the political franchise can we guarantee that the rights of young people stay firmly on the agenda of politicians.”

Senator Lynn Ruane, a graduate of the Trinity Access Programmes, commented: 

“It’s of the utmost importance that young people  engage with politics and their local communities as early as possible and the ability to vote in local elections will be an important first step towards making this a reality. Moreover, at this crucial period for the future of the European Union, we need young people to contribute to the debate over the future of our role in that union and how best we can be represented going forward. I sincerely hope that by the 2019 local and European elections, Irish young people will be able to participate in that democratic exercise as fully enfranchised Irish citizens.” 

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