Alliance Councillor Brown Sends Signal To The Young Voters

Rowallene Alliance Councillor Patrick Brown was certainly perked up following a mock debate held in The Royal School in Armagh last Friday with students from six schools across South Down and Armagh taking part in a panel debate and mock election as part of a Stormont initiative called ‘Let’s Talk’.

And the results, if translated into votes in the next Stormont election, could be startling.

[caption id="attachment_59942" align="alignleft" width="390"]Councillor Patrick Brown  romped home in a poll taken by the students from six schools. Rowallene Alliance Councillor Patrick Brown romped home in a poll taken by the students from six schools following a ‘Let’s Talk’ debate and round table discussion. [/caption]

The platform debate aimed to inspire political engagement amongst young people. The A-level students were given the opportunity to grill political representatives from six main parties on a range of topics including Stormont reform, equal marriage and economic development.

The schools represented were: The Royal School Armagh, City of Armagh High School, Portadown College, St Catherine’s College Armagh, St Mark’s High School Warrenpoint and St Patrick’s Grammar School Armagh. The political representation consisted of: William Irwin MLA (DUP), Micky Brady MP & Cathal Boylan MLA (Sinn Fein), Dominic Bradley MLA (SDLP), Danny Kennedy MLA (UUP), Cllr. Patrick Brown (Alliance), Cllr. David Jones (UKIP) and John McCallister MLA (independant Unionist).

Following the debate and a round table discussion, the students voted in a mock first-past-the post election. Alliance won, with almost 50% of the vote (28 votes). The nearest contenders were Sinn Fein and UKIP, with 8 votes each, followed closely by John McCallister on 7. If this represented a cross-section of the first time voters, Alliance could be up on its toes in the next election.

Councillor Brown, the youngest councillor for the Alliance Party and Newry Mourne and Down District Council, and the Alliance Party’s Assembly election candidate for South Down for 2016, said: ‘This was actually my first ever panel debate, so I’m delighted the students were able to connect with Alliance’s values and vision.

“There were some excellent questions asked on a wide range of topics, showing yet again that young people are the future for Northern Ireland, and I genuinely believe Alliance is the best party to represent them.

“It also shows the growing Alliance support amongst young people in the wider South Down and Armagh area.”

[caption id="attachment_59943" align="aligncenter" width="540"]Some of the pupils whop took part in Let's Talk-styled debate with the local political representatives. Some of the pupils whop took part in Let’s Talk-styled debate with the local political representatives.[/caption]]]>