Northern Ireland Election 2016

Good Friday Agreement Generation in BBC NI debate

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Media captionFirst-time voters raised a series of issues with politicians ahead of the election

First-time voters in Northern Ireland have raised a series of issues with politicians ahead of next month's assembly election in a special televised debate on BBC Northern Ireland.

Stephen Nolan and Tara Mills hosted Election 2016 - The Good Friday Agreement Generation.

Abortion, the economy and same sex marriage were among the issues raised.

The DUP, Sinn Féin, Ulster Unionists, SDLP, and Alliance were on the panel.

They were represented by Alastair Ross, Chris Hazzard, Doug Beattie, Daniel McCrossan and Naomi Long.

Jordan Armstrong of the TUV, Ellen Murray of the Green Party and David Jones of UKIP also featured on the programme.

Political parties will always tell you that sometimes it is difficult to get people involved in the democratic process.

This audience of first-time voters seems different - they are engaged and interested and on Wednesday night they were full of questions.

Audience member Aoife McBride from County Armagh was interested in the controversial issue of abortion.

"Why is it that the abortion laws in NI have remained the same despite the fact that in the rest of the UK they've been changed and adopted since the 1960s?" she asked.

Megan Donaldson from Magheralin, County Down, took a very different view.

She said that she thought that the law should stay the same.

Others like Matthew Wilson from Glengormley, County Antrim, wanted to know if this year's election was going to be different.

James Milliken from Lisburn, County Antrim, was frustrated.

He wants to vote but is not sure who to back.

The next major televised election debate will be the BBC leaders debate on 3 May.