Celebrities call on young people to rock the vote

IRISH actor Cillian Murphy and comedian Dara Ó Briain will be using their street cred for political purposes after throwing their weight behind a campaign to get young people into the voting booths.

Rock the Vote Ireland will be launched on April 7 and its aim is to encourage as many of the 18-plus generation as possible to make their views count in the general election.

Ireland has the lowest average voter turnout in Europe over the last 30 years, and one of the least-represented groups of society when it comes to polling day is the 18 to 25s.

Rock the Vote hopes to change that, by using celebrities like Murphy and Ó Briain as well as others from the worlds of comedy and music.

A “Rock the Vote van” will tour the country’s college campuses over the next eight weeks, from Letterkenny to Tralee, and the campaign has the backing of student organisations.

Both Ó Briain and Murphy will record video clips encouraging young people to vote. The clips will be posted on youth websites like Bebo, MySpace and YouTube.

Executive director of Rock the Vote, Patrick Cosgrave, said the project was conceived in a pub.

“Eight months ago it was nothing but an idea I had chatted about with mates over a pint. If someone had told me back then that, in eight months, the campaign could count on the likes of Dara Ó Briain, Cillian Murphy and dozens of others as supporters I’d have just laughed. We’ve come a long way and we are hopeful we’ll have a positive impact on this election.”

Those who haven’t registered to vote can still do so until 15 days before polling day — just Google the words “supplementary register” for the details.

Organisers announced yesterday that Rock the Vote Ireland was in partnership with the US campaign of the same name, supported by Justin Timberlake, P Diddy and Madonna.

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