Senator Fintan Warfield says he is disappointed Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael worked together to block the Electoral Amendment (Voting at 16) Bill 2016 until 2018.
The Bill to extend the vote to young people aged 16 and 17 for local and European elections was blocked yesterday after the Seanad voted 29-21 in favour of an amendment to delay consideration of the Bill until December 2017.
The Sinn Féin spokesperson for the Arts, Youth Affairs and LGBTQI Rights said both parties behaviour was surprising given their previous commitments to work towards lowering the voting age.
Senator Warfield said:
“In a bizarre turn of events, Fianna Fáil claimed that they support the bill ‘in principle’, but supported a Government amendment to delay the Bill until 2018, making it impossible to enact in time for the 2019 Local and European elections and, in essence, voting against their own party policy to appease Fine Gael.
“Equally, Fine Gael have supported lowering the voting age to 16 in the European Parliament.
“The Constitutional Convention also supported lowering the voting age for all elections.
“Despite the Bill being initiated in July 2016, both parties felt they needed more time to consider the debate. I am calling on both parties to truly engage with stakeholders and return the Bill in January 2018 for its speedy implementation.”