Lowering the Voting Age to 16?
Recently, the discussion of the proposal to lower the voting age to 16 has become a massive debate. On Thursday Donegal TD Thomas Pringle will call for a referendum to allow this to happen, in a Tweet, he said “Politics is in everything we do and affects young people. They should be allowed to guide their future”
It’s easy for adults to have their voices heard, every couple of years there are local, European and national elections not to mention referendums. All that adults have to do is show up, write some numbers or put an ‘x’ in a box, done, voice heard, and change is made. For young people it is significantly harder to have our voices heard, protests and social media campaigns, endless emails back and forth with TDs, doing all this doesn’t even guarantee that your voice will be heard.
The young people of Ireland today are the politicians of tomorrow, when our current TDs and ministers are gone who will bear the brunt of the laws they created? We, the young people. We need the power to create our future.
The idea that a 16-year-old would ‘vote wrongly’ in an election is simply incorrect, in a democratic election there is no such thing as a ‘wrong vote’. In fact, if at the age of 16 you can seek full-time employment, pay taxes and have children, why shouldn’t you be politically represented? If a 16-year-old has the same responsibilities as someone who is 18, should they not have the same rights?
In conclusion, I believe that Ireland should become more like its fellow European countries such as Austria and Scotland and lower the voting age to 16.
Doireann Walsh, National Youth Action Group