The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has called for the looming General Election to be held at the weekend.

Students must be able to cast their vote in the General Election, likely to take place in the second half of January 2011.

If the election is held on a weekday, many citizens, who work or attend college outside of their constituency, will be unable to make it home on time to vote.

USI is calling on the Government to ensure that all elections are held on a Saturday, as is common across Europe.

USI President, Gary Redmond, said:

“'The Donegal South-West By-Election, which will be held this Thursday, has excluded many people from being able to vote. It is physically impossible for students and others to get home from work and college in good time to vote midweek.

{module Island Banners|xhtml} There is only a 48 hour window after an election is called for students to register for a postal vote– this is too short and requires an immediate change in legislation.

Schools and other public buildings will also have to close on Thursday causing huge disruption to the general public. All elections should be held on Saturday as is common across the rest of the continent.

The general election needs to be accessible for the students of Ireland, who are the future taxpayers of this country and will be burdened with paying for the bank bailout and the IMF loan.

Over the last number of weeks the young people of Ireland have taken to the streets in unprecedented numbers, have engaged in dialogue with their elected representatives and have shown their determination to play an active role in the country's future.

The general election will be a defining moment in Ireland's future and young people must be given the opportunity to take part in the most fundamental principle of our democratic process”'



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