THE GOVERNMENT IS to hold a referendum asking whether the electorate want to lower the voting age from 18 to 16.
The decision was made this week following a formal recommendation by the Constitutional Convention to the Government earlier this year to consider lowering the voting age. The Government was given four months to decide whether or not to do something about the proposal.
The referendum is likely to be held on the same day as a number of other votes designed to modernise the Constitution.
“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 the issues that affect us?” said Maria Kelly, a member of the Vote At 16 campaign run by the National Youth Council of Ireland.
“It is only a matter of time before the idea that suffrage wasn’t extended to 16 and 17 year olds will be as antiquated and laughable as the idea that women shouldn’t vote,” said Kelly.
The vast majority of countries in the world have the voting age set at 18 but a small number have dropped it to 16 in recent years, including Brazil, Argentina, Austria and Estonia.