This comes after a vote was taken on Wednesday night (30 August) to reject a proposal brought forward by Alliance, the SDLP, and Greens for the Council to show support for votes at 16, knocked back by the DUP and all UUP councillors bar one.
Speaking following the meeting, Councillor Irwin said: “Alliance have consistently supported the right of 16 and 17 year olds to fully participate in our democracy, and we recognise the many passionate, astute and mature young people who continue to campaign for this right to be extended as it has been in Wales and Scotland.
“It is extremely disappointing that comments made by those in other parties during this debate appeared to undermine the maturity and intelligence of young people in our borough.
“These young people already contribute to our society in so many ways, and are able to make major life decisions such as getting married, joining the armed forces, and choosing what career path they’d like to pursue. They should be able to participate in our democracy and vote for the elected representatives who are making decisions that impact their future.
“I greatly value the young people of Ards and North Down, and increasing political engagement among them, and all young people across NI, is crucial to creating a shared, progressive, and forward-thinking future for Northern Ireland.
“My colleagues and I will continue to support the campaign for votes at 16 at every opportunity, so we can ensure our young people’s voices are heard about the issues that matter to them.”