Local Young People ‘Do Democracy’ as part of Parliament Week!

Local Young People ‘Do Democracy’ as part of Parliament Week!

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Local Young People ‘Do Democracy’ as part of Parliament Week!

Votes at 16, mandatory voting and political education in schools formed the focus of a ‘Debate on Democracy’ being organised by the Northern Ireland Youth Forum (NIYF) as part of Parliament Week on Wednesday 18th November 2015.

The debate, which took place in the court house at Radar NI was being organised as part of Parliament Week, a national programme of events designed to encourage people to engage with the UK’s democratic system.

Participants debated three motions relating to democracy with young people speaking for and against each motion, followed by open floor space for other young people to put forward their arguments on the issues. Finally, the young people cast their votes on each motion, based on the arguments put forward.

The aim was to not only encourage young people to think about democracy, but also for them to experience engaging directly in it through arguing for or against issues and casting their votes on ballot papers. It is hoped that through events such as this, young people will be more likely to get engaged with issues that are important to and which affect them.

Leader in Charge of Ledley Hall Boys and Girls Club stated that “This event provided a great opportunity for young people from our youth centre to get involved in debating, voting and discussing issues relating to democracy, which was a first for many of them.”

NIYF chairperson, Matthew Carson congratulated the young people on their involvement in the debates, particularly the speakers and said he was “delighted to chair this event and listen to the opinions young people had on issues such as Votes at 16, political education and voting.”

Editor’s Notes
1. For media enquiries please contact Laura at NIYF- 02890331990 / laura.ohare@niyf.org
2. NIYF is a regional, youth-led membership organisation which seeks to promote the voice of young people aged 11-25 in Northern Ireland at all levels-

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3. Parliament Week is a national initiative, co-ordinated by the House of Commons and House of Lords, which aims to raise awareness of Parliament and encourage people to engage with the UK’s democratic system and its institutions.- https://www.parliamentweek.org/
4. This event took place from 6.30-8pm, Wednesday 18 November at Radar NI.
5. Voting results;
Motion 1- ““We believe that the right to vote should be extended to 16 and 17 year olds in all public elections”
Majority voted in favour of this motion.

Motion 2- -“We believe that for everyone of voting age, casting a vote in public elections should be mandatory”
Majority voted against this motion.

Motion 3- “We believe that political education should be a mandatory part of the Key Stage 3 curriculum in Northern Ireland”
Majority voted against this motion.

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