Dickson calls for votes at 16 to be extended to Northern Ireland

Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson has called for votes at 16 to be extended to Northern Ireland, after the Welsh Government said it wished to do similar.

Welsh Cabinet Secretary Alun Davies said any changes would be in place for Welsh Council elections in 2022. Scotland lowered its voting age to 16 for the independence referendum and local government elections in 2014.

Mr Dickson said young people in Northern Ireland deserved the right to participate in the democratic process.

“Young people at 16 are old enough to work, join the armed forces and pay taxes. Therefore, it naturally follows they have should have a right to say how those taxes are spent and who makes those other key decisions. If you pay taxes, you deserve representation.

“By reducing the voting age to 16 we can also encourage more young people to take an interest in politics and get involved in the democratic process while still in education. Giving a new generation a voice can only be a benefit to local politics.

“We must take this opportunity to show young people they are equal citizens, with respected opinions. Many of the decisions taken by elected representatives will shape the rest of their lives, so it is only fair they have a say in them.”

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