Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Wexford Cllr Malcolm Byrne has secured support from across Europe for a paper prepared by him on Youth Participation.

The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe, which represents over 200,000 local councils across 47 European countries has adopted a code on increasing youth participation.

Cllr Byrne commented, “There has been a growing problem across Europe in recent years whereby young people feel disconnected from their communities. A greater effort is needed to encourage young people to be active citizens, and this is something I want to achieve through the measures for which I have secured support.

“This new policy sets out goals for greater engagement by Councils with young people as well as urging the use of more youth friendly language and methods of communication. These measures will ensure local authorities do more to engage and connect with young people. A major pan-European study of youth participation in local democracy will also be carried out.

“The policy also that consideration is given in all countries to reducing the voting age to 16 for local elections. This was first done in Austria but is now in effect in a number of countries. Lowering the voting age to 16 will help young people engage in the political process and become active citizens.

“Another measure contained in the report is the recommendation that a greater role be set aside for students in the management of their schools. This will allow young people to get a valuable insight into how our schools operate and will give them ownership of their own education.”