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Youth vote could be key to Lisbon

category national | miscellaneous | press release author Wednesday September 30, 2009 07:37author by SpunOut.ie - www.SpunOut.ie Report this post to the editors

The results of the SpunOut.ie Facebook Poll: What way will you vote in Lisbon 2?

* Yes: 50.67%
* No: 41.63%
* I’m undecided: 3.33%
* I don’t understand it: 4.37%

The results of the SpunOut.ie poll of 1,350 people show young people are far from silent on the big issues facing the nation. According to Susan Quirke from SpunOut.ie, a national youth organisation, young people are aware and engaged when it comes to the Lisbon Treaty, but they are frustrated with the political process.

“Young people are telling us they are fed up with the tired ideas and faces from both sides of the debate. They have issues around the lack of clear issue based information, the manner in which each side are campaigning and the fact that despite the huge potential of young people to decide the outcome, few politicians or parties connect with them in any meaningful way.

There is a strong feeling that the current system has failed young people and the entire community in its failure to welcome young ideas and energy. Ireland continues to be suffocated by politics that favours playing it safe over sustainable solutions. In the absence of significant attempts by political parties to connect, young people are choosing alternative means of expression. The time has come for a revolution in civic participation where ordinary voices can lead the exceptional changes that are needed in our country. We need to harness young people’s potential as active citizens’’ according to Susan Quirke of SpunOut.ie.

To do this we need civic education in schools, a more participatory system and a move away from meaningless placards and sloganeering. Although the poll suggests a close race it is the ‘no’ supporters who are most vocal on the SpunOut.ie forums. Susan added, “Their comments range from analysis of Lisbon and privatisation, militarism and independence to a general belief the yes side are overwhelmingly more resourced and visible.”

There are approximately 500,000 young people in Ireland between the ages of 18 and 25. The Department of Foreign Affairs research carried out after the last referendum on Lisbon showed age was the second strongest indicator of a no vote, with 57% of the 18-34 year olds voting no, compared to 43% of the same age group who voted yes.

Despite the above interest in the Lisbon poll it remains to be seen if young people will actually vote on Friday. In recent years they have had a low turnout meaning the vast power of the youth vote, which has potential to decide the outcome, remains largely untapped. The organisation are strongly urging the youth of Ireland to come out and vote on Friday. “It is important that young people continue to express their aspirations by voting and by ensuring they make their voices heard loud and clear” added Susan.

ENDS

NOTES

* The absence of a youth friendly forum for young people to engage prompted the SpunOut.ie charity to establish a pilot schools video debate which goes online this Thursday. The organisation is encouraging young people to get involved and take control of their own media by creating their own videos outlining their thoughts on the Lisbon Treaty

*Poll: Conducted via Facebook – Capped at 1,350 votes – Poll is still running live – results may have changed

About SpunOut.ie

SpunOut.ie is an independent youth powered national charity working to empower young people to create personal and social change. SpunOut.ie combines an interactive online community providing health and lifestyle information, signposting to help services, an alternative youth media space, dynamic discussion forums, and a platform for youth engagement, participation and advocacy. SpunOut.ie reaches nearly half a million users online each year, millions more through the media and has won numerous awards including a Golden Spider Award for ‘Best Charity Website’ in Ireland.

http://spunout.ie/about/

author by tickernpublication date Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The poll on facebook was accompanied by a graphic of somebody ticking a ballot paper with a pencil. They were very noticeably ticking the YES box.

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