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Foley said there were opportunities for young people to engage with local authorities and other institutions. Alamy Stock Photo
Voting Age

Lowering the voting age to 16 'worth discussing' says Norma Foley

The education minister said the public should “never be afraid of the discussion”.

LOWERING THE VOTING age to 16 is a “discussion worth having”, education minister Norma Foley has said.

Speaking to reporters in Dublin, Foley said: “I think it’s a discussion worth having. For example, I know a number of years ago it was suggested that perhaps you would begin with the local elections and then move forward or whatever.”

She added: “I think it’s no harm in having discussions around how we can empower young people.”

Asked about how she would justify giving 16-year-olds influence in national politics when they cannot legally purchase cigarettes or alcohol, Foley said that a conversation on empowering young people does not “rest and fall with the vote”.

She said there were opportunities for young people to engage with local authorities and other institutions.

Foley cited the Comhairle na nÓg youth councils as well as work within her own Department which sees students engaging with the national body for curriculum assessment.

“Having the discussion perhaps highlights good practice that’s happening in some areas, and potential and scope to do more in other areas. We should never be afraid of the discussion.”

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