THE voting age for local and European elections should be reduced to 16, according to a Cork county councillor.
Fianna Fáil Kanturk-Mallow representative Bernard Moynihan said he believes the age should be reduced before the May 2019 local elections which will see huge changes in city and county representation on foot of areas such as Blarney, Douglas, and Ballincollig becoming part of City Council’s remit.
Reducing the voting age for local and European elections was recommended by the Constitutional Convention in 2013 and would allow up to 120,000 people aged between 16 and 17 the chance to vote.
The Government is expected to hold a referendum on the Fourth Amendment in 2019 but it is unclear if this would be held before people go to the ballot boxes in May.
“I’m a former teacher myself and I want to get young people interested and involved in politics,” said Mr Moynihan.
“I am getting great feedback from young people in my own area that want to be involved. I am chair of the board of management of a school in Kanturk, Colaiste Treasa, and I really want to see young people engaged in politics from a young age.
“You can see what it’s like trying to get young people to join a bank, they want them young.
“Young people need to be empowered and at least be given the option to vote. Politics is being discussed at home in front of them by their parents as to who they are voting for, but their children don’t have a vote. People always look forward to their first vote,” he added.
The National Youth Council of Ireland backed a Bill to reduce the voting age by Senator Fintan Warfield in March.
The minimum age to cast a vote is 16 in Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey. People who are in employment in Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro can also vote at 16.
Mr Moynihan is set to bring a motion to Cork County Council on the matter at the next full meeting.