The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) is concerned that a delay in voting on the wording of the referendum bill today will see the referendum on the Eighth Amendment pushed to June 8th. This shift in date could see thousands of students unable to cast a vote in the referendum.
Speaking after the debate in the Dáil, USI President Michael Kerrigan said,
“While we welcome the simple wording of the referendum question, we are concerned students sitting state examinations, going on J1s to the States or on work placement in June will be unable to vote. With the debate stalled, we need to know if a May date is still on the table so students can vote.”
“Millions of our young people have not had the opportunity to vote on this issue, and arguably it affects our future generations more than any other.”, Mr Kerrigan said “We know that the people want to show compassion, and allow people to make personal and private decisions. We must remove the Eighth Amendment, and we must accommodate students to vote. Students are overwhelmingly in favour of changing our restrictive abortion laws to become a country that values dignity and respect of people.”
USI is the national representative body for the 374,000 students in third level education on the Island of Ireland. USI registered 18,000 students who have never voted before between September and November 2017 alone, adding to the upwards of 80,000 students registered to vote by USI in recent years.