Thursday, 13 July 2017
Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government
Election Management System
1256. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government the level of research his Department has conducted on lowering the voting age to 16; and his views on the necessity for a referendum on the matter. [33654/17]
A referendum would be required in order to reduce to sixteen years, the age at which a person would be entitled to register to vote at Dáil elections, Presidential elections and at referendums.
It is my understanding that a referendum would not be required to reduce the voting age at local and European elections. There is a Bill before the Seanad, the Electoral (Amendment) (Voting at 16) Bill 2016, which proposes reducing the voting age at those elections. The proposals in that Bill and the issues that arise in considering a reduction in the voting age more generally are being further examined in my Department, following a debate on that Bill in the Seanad on 29 March 2017. These issues include the potential concerns that arise in having the age of majority set at 18 years and the voting age set at 16.
The related research that has been conducted in my Department in recent years included research on the position and experience in other countries and research on age limitations across the policy spectrum in Ireland.