The Irish Second-Level Students’ Union (ISSU) fully supports the legislative moves to lower the voting age to sixteen introduced in recent weeks. The ISSU has been at the forefront of campaigning and lobbying on the reduction of the voting age for a number of years. We strongly urge all political parties and members of the Oireachtas to vote for any measure that would allow sixteen and seventeen year olds to participate in democracy.
A “Vote at Sixteen” Working Group, led by ISSU Deputy President Luke Casserly, was established in 2020 to campaign and lobby for the lowering of the voting age to sixteen. As the democratically-elected representatives of students in Ireland, the ISSU has been mandated to engage with all political parties and representatives on the issue, and the Working Group is pleased with all engagements to date. We do, however, want to see more concrete action taken by all political representatives to endorse this measure.
Speaking about the issue recently, Mr. Casserly stated: “For us, lowering the voting age is a common sense measure that would allow young people to participate in democracy and have a say in matters that have a direct impact on their lives. If we trust them to finish school, work and pay taxes, or consent to medical treatment for example, why shouldn’t we trust and empower them to vote for who represents them?”.
Adding to this, ISSU Equality Officer Saoirse Exton, noted “Over the past number of years we have seen young people take a full and active role in society, calling for positive change in various campaigns ranging from climate justice to clarity on state exams. We have proven to be a mature, articulate, and passionate generation, and it’s about time that we are treated with the same level of respect other generations have been afforded for years.”
The ISSU will continue to enthusiastically campaign and advocate for the lowering of the voting age until this cohort of young people can vote in every election in Ireland.