NEXT Friday’s other Referendum on reducing the age of eligibility to seek election to the office of President of Ireland from 35 to 21 has received a lot less attention, with very little public debate taking place about it. Yet, potentially, for all the wrong reasons, it could prove more divisive in its own right and result in another embarrassing referendum defeat for the government.
Even the Referendum Commission’s independent guide to the Age of Presidential Candidates Referendum looks sparse on detail, which is understandable given that the issue is not as complex as that being decided in the Marriage Equality Referendum. In considering the amendment, some people will conclude that age should not matter, while others will ask themselves if a 21-year-old is mature enough to be President?
Here again, however, a red herring is being thrown in by opponents who think that are there more important constitutional questions that should be put to the people than this and are implying that a protest No vote would be in order. Whatever you think, this side issue should not be the sole reason if you vote No.
Other political reforms that we should be voting on are not before us at the moment and are, therefore, irrelevant to the proposed amendment that voters are being asked to say Yes or No to on Friday 22nd: ‘Every citizen who has reached the age of twenty-one years is eligible for election to the office of President.’