Limerick Youth say ‘Vote at 16’
Two Limerick students were among a group of young people who attended the Constitutional Convention in Dublin recently.
Ciara O’Donoghue, (17) a fifth year student at Crescent Compressive College and Stu Clancy (17) from Ardscoil Rís, argued passionately in support of reducing the voting age from 18.
‘If a 16 year old can leave school, seek full-time employment and pay tax, why can we not vote and have a say in issues that affect us?’ asked Ciara.
With Ireland having one of the youngest populations in Europe, Ciara argued that it makes sense to engage with young people at an early age.
‘The main political parties allow young people to join at 15 and 16, so the parties recognise the importance of engaging young people as early as possible,’ added Ciara.
Her colleague, Stu Clancy, argued that research shows that voting is habitual therefore if you engage with people at a younger age it can become part of their lives.
‘At 18 the majority of young people move away from home, either to attend college, training courses or work and can fall through the administrative cracks,’ said Stu.
When asked about the arguments against voting at 16, such as not been informed or mature enough, Ciara argued that these excuses were put forward by those opposed to allowing women to vote.
‘In 1973 the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18 in a referendum, while in Austria and the Isle of Mann it is 16,’ stated Ciara.
Limerick Youth Service welcomes the debate to lower the voting age and acknowledge the benefits of engaging with young people at an early age.
Limerick Youth Service remains committed to supporting and encouraging young people to be active participants in shaping their futures.