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Lowering voting age debate needs expanded to North

9 February, 2015 - by Megan Fearon

 Sinn Féin MLA Megan Fearon has welcomed tomorrow’s vote in the Dáil on reducing the voting age to 16 and has called for a similar vote in the Assembly.

 Ms. Fearon said,

 “More and more countries across the democratic world are lowering the voting age to 16 and I look forward to the vote in the Dáil tomorrow.

 "Many 16 and 17 year-olds play a vital role in society, through employment, studying, paying taxes and volunteering through community and charity groups.

 “People can also live independently at the age of 16 so I cannot understand why they are denied the right to vote. They are treated as adults in every other manner, with government quite willing and happy to accept their taxes but will not afford them the basic democratic right to vote.

 “A dynamic could be created by more participatory democracy through lowering the voting age, sparking new-found interest and engagement in politics and decision making.

 “While the Irish Government has said they would not oppose the vote they have reneged on a referendum on the issue so tomorrow’s vote takes on a bigger significance.

  “It is also important the Dáil also looks at the larger issue of voting rights for citizens in the North and the Irish diaspora for Presidential elections while addressing this issue. 

 “I am calling on the Assembly to readdress the issue in the North and look at also lowering the voting age to 16 to enable young people to engage in the democratic process.”

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