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Fianna Fáil u-turn on voting rights looming – Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh

29 March, 2017

You can’t trust Fianna Fáil promises or depend on them to deliver, according to Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, as it appears that another Fianna Fáil u-turn is looming, this time on reducing the voting age to 16.

Speaking ahead of a Sinn Féin Private Members Bill being debated in the Seanad today, the Galway West – South Mayo Senator says:

"My Sinn Féin colleague Senator Fintan Warfield is calling on all parties to support our Electoral (Voting at 16) Bill 2016, which seeks to lower the voting age from 18 to 16 for Local and European elections. This Bill is timely in advance of the 2019 Local and European elections, particularly given an official endorsement by the European Parliament to support voting at 16 in European Parliament elections and a recommendation of the Constitutional Convention in 2013.

"Before the General Election Fianna Fáil pledged  to reduce the voting age from 18 to 16 for the 2019 Local Elections on a trial basis, however we are being told that they now intend to support a government amendment to our bill which will kick to touch on this commitment.

‘This all points to the fact that you cannot trust Fianna Fáil to deliver on promises, or bring in real reform to systems which block young people from participating in the democratic process that they helped put in place.

"Sinn Féin are serious about legislating for the rights of young people given our longstanding commitment on this issue to the National Youth Council of Ireland and many other youth organisations.

"Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have no problem taxing sixteen year olds, why therefore are they not willing to give these young people the right to decide who gets to spend those taxes on their behalf?

"I am calling on Fianna Fáil to do the right thing, live up to their commitment and support this bill in the Seanad today. This would be a positive step in encouraging young people to engage more actively with our political system."

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