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

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

A BILL will go before the Seanad today which could see the voting age in Ireland be reduced to 16-years-old.

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.

Furthermore, no referendum would be required to reduce the age unless it was Dail or Presidential elections.

The bill has been proposed and sponsored by Senators Fintan Warfield and Lynn Ruane.

Speaking ahead of the debate, James Doorley, National Youth Council of Ireland 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 Eireann as part of the Votail 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.

He continued: “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.”