Labour extends age limit for being considered a ‘youth’

Age change brings the party in line with how everyone else defines youth, conference told

The age limit for being considered a "youth" in the Labour party has gone up after delegates voted to raise the age for exiting the party's youth wing from under 27 to under 30.

UCD Dun Laoghaire Rathdown delegate Jack Eustace, a member of Labour Youth national executive, said the lower age limit put the party in a minority compared to socialist parties across Europe.

Labour Youth is also in a minority on age grounds against other political parties it is competing against at home, he said.

Accepting the increase “brings us in line with how everyone else defines youth”, he said.


Opponents argued that if they increased the upper age limit, the party’s executive would be taken over by 28 and 29-year-olds, Mr Eustace said.

But the majority of members on Labour Youth’s executive for the past six years were aged between 20 and 24, he said.

Delegates rejected a central council call that the six party delegates on the executive board be elected every two years on the basis of three men one year and three women the next.

Party legal advisor Cllr Richard Humphreys said it would mean moving from one year as a member of the executive board to two years and the motion was an attempt to stagger the change.

Dublin Mid West TD Joanna Tuffy opposed the move and delegates backed her. She said all members of the executive board should be elected annually.

She also said it was bad enough that there were separate ballots for men and women without extending it further.

The conference also voted to re-instate guaranteed sectional seats on the executive council for Labour Youth, Labour Women, Labour Equality and Labour Trade Unionists.

Proposing the motion, Aideen Carberry, Rathfarnham branch, said there was no guaranteed youth voice on the executive council yet youth members were central to core issues the party was dealing with including youth unemployment, mental health and emigration.

Rory Geraghty, a former chairman of Labour Youth said Labour was one of the only parties that did not have a guaranteed youth seat on the executive but it was the section that brought in more people to the party" than any other.

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times