Reacting to the news today that the Seanad had voted against Votes at 16 at local and European elections, Green Party Spokesperson for Equality Una Power said:
“A year ago, we were told that this Bill was being deferred to allow for more work to be done on it. Yet today is evidence that this was simply a delaying tactic by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, despite their promises to the contrary, to deny young people the chance to have their voices heard. In fact, Fianna Fáil have, by abstaining on today’s vote, completely abandoned the commitments they made to lowering the voting age at local elections in their ‘Policy for Increased Youth Participation in Politics’.
“By insisting on the ‘Go For Broke’ gambit of holding a referendum to allow votes at 16 at General Elections, Fianna Fáil are trying to court youth voters while anticipating that such a referendum will fail. If they adopted the Bill presented today by Senators Fintan Warfield and Lynn Ruane we would be able to simply legislate for votes at 16 and 17 for Local and European elections, and show the merits of reducing the voting age to the entire electorate.
“We have heard the recommendations from the Citizen’s Assembly. We have seen the benefits of reducing the voting age in other countries. We know that it increases political engagement and inclusivity. The actions today by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil do not stem from a fact-based or consultative approach; they stem from a place of fear. This is a betrayal of young people, who deserve better than this.”
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