Young people have a stake and deserve a say’ - Archibald
Young people have a stake in society and should be able to exercise the right to vote at 16, Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald has said.
Addressing the NUS-USI Further Education Conference in Belfast today, the East Derry MLA said the Scottish referendum had proved that younger voices make a positive contribution to political debate.
“During the Scottish Independence Referendum the vote was extended to 16 and 17-year-olds,” she commented.
“Eighty percent of 16 and 17 year olds registered and 75 per cent turned out to vote.
“Sinn Fein strongly believe that extending franchise to 16 years would be positive democratically and encourage young people to engage politically.
“Young people should not be forced to depend on older voters to represent their distinct interests and varied values.
“Votes at 16 would close the gap between political representatives and the younger electorate, laying the foundations for political engagement throughout their lives at a younger age.
“Young people have a stake in society and are significantly and directly affected by the policies and decisions of political parties. Young people deserve to have a say in the future of the society that they will live in.”