Young voters urged to make voices heard

Banbridge Youth Council hosted a Young Voters Night in Banbridge Civic Building with Upper Bann Candidates Catherine Seeley (SF), Dolores Kelly (SDLP), Emma Hutchinson (NI Labour), Sophie Long (PUP), David Jones (UKIP), Ian Nickels (Con) and Harry Hamilton (Alliance) included are Colette Ross (Education Authority Youth Service), Christian Ford (Chair) and Samuel Mount (Vice Chair)�Edward Byrne Photography INBL1618-201EB
Banbridge Youth Council hosted a Young Voters Night in Banbridge Civic Building with Upper Bann Candidates Catherine Seeley (SF), Dolores Kelly (SDLP), Emma Hutchinson (NI Labour), Sophie Long (PUP), David Jones (UKIP), Ian Nickels (Con) and Harry Hamilton (Alliance) included are Colette Ross (Education Authority Youth Service), Christian Ford (Chair) and Samuel Mount (Vice Chair)�Edward Byrne Photography INBL1618-201EB
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Banbridge District Youth Council has reached out to the young voters within the community as they recently hosted a young voter’s night.

The EA Youth Service group organised the event in Banbridge Civic Building and invited all candidates running in the Upper Bann constituency.

Eight of the 17 candidates attended the event.

This included David Jones (UKIP), Ian Nickels (NI Conservatives), Catherine Seeley (Sinn Fein), Emma Hutchinson (NI Labour), Dolores Kelly (SDLP), Harry Hamilton (Alliance), Sophie Long (PUP) and Jo-Anne Dobson (UUP).

Representatives of Craigavon Youth Council were also present to put questions to the panel.

Banbridge Youth Council chairperson, Christian Ford, welcomed everyone and thanked the candidates for making the time in their election campaign to take questions from young people and explain their manifesto.

The aim of the night was to better educate young people around the importance of voting and to give them a chance to ask the people potentially representing them in the future questions that mattered to them.

Some of the topics the group covered included: Why should young people vote?; views on voting age being lowered to 16; university fees; the EU referendum; their parties stance on gay marriage; and, views on abortion laws.

All parties spoke extremely well on behalf of both their personal interests and their parties interests too.

Both Banbridge and Craigavon Youth Council members felt that the night was insightful.

They also felt the night met their expectations as well as allowing them a better insight in to the upcoming election,.

All felt more informed and prepared to exercise their vote.

One young person in attendance said: “I hadn’t realised there were so many parties and heard views from them that I didn’t expect so it was really useful.”

Youth Council PR Officer Victoria Geoghegan said she would like more young people having the same opportunity to extend their election and voting awareness and to this end suggested that any young people looking for more information should contact the group immediately (email: colette.ross@eani.org.uk, tel: 028 40621106).

Banbridge District Youth Council would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who attended the event and helped to make it such a success.

They would also like to wish all candidates in the Upper Bann area the very best of luck with their campaign.