With the election of Trump and the matter of Brexit earlier on in 2016, it was good incentive for the NUI Galway Students’ Union (SU) to push for students to register to vote before the next general election.
From 14 – 18 November alone, nearly 400 students had been registered by the SU.
This push coincides with a nationwide campaign from the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).
The USI expects to register over 10,000 students to vote before the formation of the next government. They have teamed up with SpunOut.ie and the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) for their #RocktheRegister campaign and said that this is a strategic move to empower students and to get political parties to prioritise funding in third level education.
USI has registered over 80,000 new student voters over the past two years and hoped to register thousands more on 16 November.
“The amount of students USI has registered to vote over the past few years is outstanding,” said USI President Annie Hoey.
“We are encouraging students to register to vote at their local students’ unions and are drilling home the message that their vote is their voice and their vote is what shapes the composition of the next government.
The figures of new registered student voters in the past two years outline the hunger young people have for getting involved in current affairs, politics and issues that directly affect them like educational matters. Students are really energised to vote in this election and to make sure their voice is properly heard. We’ve seen across Twitter and Facebook how many students are excited to register their vote, and voice, but today is only the beginning of our campaign to #Rocktheregister over the coming months.”
Executive Director of SpunOut.ie Ian Power said that there is a vast amount of issues concerning young people and campaigns such as #RocktheRegister are key to persuading young people to use their voice to get results.
“There are so many pressing issues we’re seeing at the moment that have clear political solutions; whether it be the lack of student housing and affordable rents, the very high cost of education, the difficulty young people still face in finding good quality jobs or any number of other things,” he said.
“The only way any of these problems is going to be fixed is through young people mobilising and having their say in changing this country for the better, just like they did with the Marriage Equality referendum last year.”
-By Sorcha O’Connor