Referendum on voting age before end of 2015
Minister for the Environment says referendum will be held in line with recommendation from Convention on the Constitution
Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan: “Ultimately, the decision on reducing the voting age will be made by the people in a referendum on the Constitution.’’ Photograph: Alan Betson
The referendum to lower the voting age to 16 years would be held before the end of 2015, Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan said.
“The Government will proceed now with preparations for bringing forward the relevant legislation,’’ he added. “This will include careful examination of the consequences of such a change across the policy spectrum including the age of majority.’’
Mr Hogan said the referendum would be held in line with a recommendation from the Convention on the Constitution, which he praised. He said the Government was encouraged by the engagement of the participants.
He said it was 32 years since the voting age was reduced from 21 years to 18, adding that many arguments had been made since, both for and against reducing it further. All the views were important and valid, he added, and an opportunity for further debate would be presented when the legislation came before the Oireachtas.
“Ultimately, the decision on reducing the voting age will be made by the people in a referendum on the Constitution.’’
Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan, a member of the convention, suggested that parliamentarians attending should leave some silences at the convention gatherings to allow citizen members more time to speak. “Citizen members have been particularly articulate at the table discussions and have been very open and frank during those sessions.’’
She acknowledged and complimented the manner in which the convention was organised, from the appointment of chairman Tom Arnold and secretary Art O’Leary, as well as others involved.