‘Lower voting age to 16 to encourage young people’s engagement in politics’ – Fearon

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Friday, November 9th, 2012
On Tuesday past, Sinn Féin brought forward a motion in conjunction with the Green Party to the Assembly to lower the voting age to 16. It was passed 51 to 29 votes. Sinn Féin MLA Megan Fearon commented on the success of the motion, “I am pleased that the motion that I proposed in conjunction with the Green Party was passed and was supported by most of the parties, it is important that there is inclusion of young people who are disenfranchised from the political system. “Before the motion we held an informative event, where a great deal of young members of the community came along and engaged in a question and answer session about the lowering of the voting age to 16. This further proved the point that young people are more politically aware than ever before due to our high standard of education. “I have been politically active and aware since my early teens, but I was only entitled to vote three years ago. I want to ensure that young people are given a greater say. Fearon continued, “Decisions are made everyday that impact heavily on young people and many of these decisions will have a long term impact on their future, yet they have no say in who represents them. At 16 young people are very politically aware and able to make informed choices. “You become liable to pay tax and national insurance at the age of 16 and make a range of other decisions, it is only appropriate that they should be eligible to vote. She added, “While this first step has been passed we need to encourage more support so that we can see a similar motion in the British House of Commons and ensure young people can engage in any future elections.”
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