Voting age for local and European elections could be reduced to 16

A bill which would reduce the voting age for local and European elections to 16 is due before the Seanad today.

No referendum would be required to reduce the age unless it was for Dáil or Presidential elections.

If the bill is passed, over 126,000 16 and 17 year olds would be eligible to vote in the next local elections in 2019.

Speaking ahead of the debate, James Doorley, NYCI Deputy Director said: “In recent weeks the Oireachtas has been celebrating the 100th anniversary of the “Representation of the People Act, 1918” which extended voting rights to women (over 30 years and with property of over £5) and all men over 21 for the first time.

"It would be very fitting for Seanad Éireann as part of the Vótáil 100 commemoration to extend the franchise to the over 126,000 young people aged 16 and 17 years so that they can have a say in electing their local councillors and European Parliament representatives.”

“The lesson from the last 150 years has been we have nothing to fear from electoral reform, in fact democracy has been strengthened and deepened when more citizens have a direct stake in electing public representatives.

"The Seanad has the opportunity to support electoral reform today, we call on all Senators to grasp it."

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