Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Voting age should be 16, says panel

The Convention on the Constitution says the voting age should be reduced to 16

The voting age should be cut to 16, the Convention on the Constitution has said.

In its first report, the group has called for a two year reduction in the age at which people can take part in elections but called for the seven-year term for a presidency to remain as it is.

Convention chairman Tom Arnold said it was a landmark day for the work of the body.

He said: "The establishment of the Constitutional Convention represented an exciting and innovative approach to constitutional reform in this country."

The convention had agreed to propose lowering the voting age by a slender majority, Mr Arnold revealed.

He said: "The Government will now respond within four months to this recommendation. This initiative is a fresh approach which gives citizens a chance to make their voice heard on important constitutional matters.

"These issues are highly relevant to all Irish citizens and it is crucial that people engage in the process. I would encourage all citizens to take account of the Constitutional Convention schedule and have their say on the important matters that are yet to be discussed."

The January meeting also decided that presidential elections should not be held alongside local or European elections.

The next meeting of the Constitutional Convention is on April 13 and 14 where the issue of whether same sex marriage should be supported will be discussed and voted on. The convention's report was laid in the library of the Houses of the Oireachtas on Tuesday, meaning the Government will have four months to respond to the call for reform.

The first step will be a debate in the Oireachtas and, if the Government agrees to the proposal to amend the Constitution, it must also detail a timeline for a referendum.

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