Ireland’s young people are increasingly disenchanted with politics, with little more than a quarter of students turning out to vote in the European Parliament elections.
While the 52% turnout in Ireland was up slightly on the previous election in 2009, the number of young people voting fell by close to a third to just 26%.
The numbers saying they didn’t vote because they were not interested in politics doubled in the past five years and was now the fifth highest in the EU.
Among those who did vote, close to half said they didn’t care which candidate or which political party was elected.
The numbers who appeared to be adopting an abstentionist stance is now the second highest in the EU after Luxembourg, with a third of non-voters saying they “never voted” — double what it was five years ago.
Among those aged 18 to 25 who did vote, a massive 80% did so because of their fears over unemployment — which was the highest in the EU after Cyprus — which was hit also by a bank collapse.
Fine Gael MEP Deirdre Clune said she could well understand the clear disengagement of younger citizens in Europe.
“How can you blame them when youth unemployment stands at over 50% in some countries and runs at an average of 22.5% across Europe?” she said.
The blame lies firmly at the feet of the EU institutions and national governments, she said.
“They have been firefighting an economic crisis and have neglected key social policies targeted at our young people.”
An analysis of just who voted and why in May’s elections to the parliament found that in countries which were having a difficult time economically, more people were disenchanted with politics.
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