Tairgim leasú a 4:
I gCuid 1, leathanach 7, líne 3, "bliain agus fiche" a scriosadh agus "ocht mbliana déag" a chur ina ionad.
I gChuid 2, leathanach 7, líne 5, "twenty-one years" a scriosadh agus "eighteen years" a chur ina ionad.
I move amendment No. 4:
In Part 1, page 6, line 3, to delete "bliain agus fiche" and substitute "ocht mbliana déag".
In Part 2, page 6, line 5, to delete "twenty-one years" and substitute "eighteen years".
This is a simple amendment and I can be brief. The amendment proposes to extend the eligibility down to 18 year olds as opposed to leaving the age at 21. The same logic that goes for extending it to 21 year olds also goes to extending it down to 18 year olds. These people work, they pay taxes, they have the right to vote and we think they also should have the right to stand for the Dáil, for the Seanad, stand for the European Parliament and in this particular case, to stand for the office of President. This does not mean that there would be an 18 year old President in the future but it would mean that 18 year olds, 19 year olds and 20 year olds, would also have the right to put themselves forward for election as President. That would then be in the hands of all those people who are over 18, as the voting age currently stands, to decide. That is a very simple proposition.
The essence of this debate about the substantive Bill and the amendments is whether one trusts people to make a decision, that one does not require any special qualifications or age limitations because one trusts that people will be able to make a correct decision, taking into account people's age, their experience and everything about them. That is why I thought that the fear expressed by Deputy Olivia Mitchell that we would lose the run of ourselves and elect someone the age of 35, was bizarre, in terms of the fear that expresses of trusting the electorate. I think the same argument applies in terms of 18, 19 and 20 year olds. I see no good reason we should have an arbitrary cut-off of 21 years. I think 18 year olds should not only be entitled to vote but should be entitled to run for election for all of these positions.