Fianna Fáil top a National Youth Council poll among young voters with Labour coming in second place.

The poll carried out by the National Youth Council shows that over a quarter of young people who are eligible to vote in the forthcoming general election have yet to make up their minds on how to cast their votes.

Since the last general election in 1992, an estimated 300,000 young people have become eligible to vote. The survey which polled two thousand people from north and south of the border between the ages of 15 and 24, found that 17.5 per cent of eligible voters in the Republic are not registered to vote. The comparable figure in Northern Ireland is 9.6 per cent.

Jillian Hassett of the National Youth Council says that there is a need for a national advertising campaign to encourage young people to vote.

It's up to them to express their opinions about the future so we need to persuade young people to be part of the political process.

The National Youth Council is also advocating for elections to be held at weekends to maximise the turn out among young voters.

Of those registered to vote, the survey found that 78 per cent intend to cast their vote. However, over a quarter of these have yet to make up their mind about who to vote for. Fianna Fáil topped the poll among the young people surveyed with 26.4 per cent of the vote. Labour has 14 per cent, Fine Gael has 10 per cent, the Green Party at 7.6 per cent, the Progressive Democrats at 4.3 per cent, and Democratic Left at 2.1 per cent. Jillian Hassett believes that this indicates the need for political parties to have young people involved in their manifestos.

The survey also shows that drugs and unemployment were the two most important issues facing young people.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 26 March 1997. The reporter is Cathy Herbert.