Thursday 8 December 2016

Lorraine Courtney: Parties failing to show youth they have a vision for their future

Lorraine Courtney

Published 12/02/2016 | 02:30

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) is calling for the abolition of JobBridge, more support for postgraduate students and measures to counter zero-hour contracts Photo: Damien Eagers
The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) is calling for the abolition of JobBridge, more support for postgraduate students and measures to counter zero-hour contracts Photo: Damien Eagers

The majority of our political parties are still failing to engage the youth vote, and when you look at the obstacles that people my age and younger are facing, it's difficult not to blame it all on generational injustice. It's the young who are most apathetic about politics right now and yet they have the most to lose.

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According to Spunout.ie, one-third of 18 to 22-year-olds are still not registered to vote. And in the 2011 General Election, the turnout figure for 18 to 24-year-olds was 20pc below the national average. A European Social Survey in 2011 showed young Irish voters were among the least likely to vote in Europe, falling 10pc below the EU average for youth electoral participation.

This time around, things could have been different. Young people were enormously engaged by the marriage referendum and we also have Smartvote - an app that asks you 20 questions on topical issues, like water charges, abortion, and the legalisation of cannabis, and then matches you with the candidates whose views are most similar to yours. Independent.ie has also launched Count Us In, giving people aged 18-24 a public platform.

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