Greens call for cross-party support for votes at 16

The Green Party today called for cross-party support for a Seanad bill legislating for votes for 16 year olds at local and European elections, to be introduced today by Senators Fintan Warfield and Lynne Ruane.
Speaking today, Senator Grace O’Sullivan called on Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil not to delay the bill, but to let it through to Committee Stage: “The Green Party are strong supporters of votes for 16 year olds. Research has shown that people who vote once, are much more likely to vote again after that. This bill will allow a chance for young people to develop good habits early.
“We’re calling for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to support this bill, and allow it go through to the next stage. The proposal can be examined in depth in the Oireachtas Committee, and any concerns they have can be thrashed out there. There is no reason to stand in its way.”
Green Party Spokesperson on Political Reform, Oliver Moran, said: “We’ve seen in the Scottish independence referendum the enthusiasm and responsibility that 16-year-olds take with them when they go to vote. We had a taste of that here during the marriage equality referendum, when so many young people were inspired by a future vision of social justice and tolerance. It wasn’t 16-year-olds who voted for Brexit or Trump. They vote for the future, not rose-tinted visions of the past, and they do it with passion and pride.
“It was an opportunity missed when the government decided to drop the initiative back in 2015. Instead, they ran with a very shallow referendum to lower the age at which someone could be nominated for President. No-one realistically thought that would empower any young person. We now have a chance to take the initiative back. This proposal is real and we should seize it with both hands.”