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2,220,359 votes were cast in last year's general election - but none of them by people under 18. Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Youth lobby launches campaign seeking votes for 16-year-olds

The National Youth Council of Ireland says people who can work, pay taxes and join the army should be given a vote.

A YOUNG PEOPLES’ lobby group has today launched a new campaign demanding that the voting age be reduced to 16.

The National Youth Council of Ireland launched its ‘Vote@16‘ campaign today in Dublin, at a conference which the council said proved the interest of young people in current affairs.

“At the ages of 16 and 17 you can pay taxes, join the army, work full-time, leave school or be detained at a detention centre – so why not have the right to vote?,” said James Doorley, NYCI’s assistant director, ahead of today’s conference.

“There has been a tremendous response to this Youth Conference which is heavily oversubscribed - so the argument that young people are not interested simply does not wash.”

Doorley said the main reason why young people appeared uninterested in politics was because they were disillusioned with politicians who ignored them because they did not have a vote in the first place.

“By reducing the voting age you would engage young people in the political process much earlier and enable registration at a time when they are still in school,” Doorley said.

The conference, being held in the Morrison Hotel today, is being attended by over 100 young people who hope to have the issue of the voting age included for review in the forthcoming constitutional convention.

The NYCI is an umbrella group which represents youth volunteer organisations.

Poll: Should 16-year-olds be allowed to vote in elections?

Read: Gilmore confirms Irish push for ‘flexibility’ in fiscal compact deal

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