Ian McGarvey, Ireland’s oldest politician, turns 91 this week

The Independent councillor has served Donegal County Council since 2003

Cllr Ian McGarvey became the oldest general election candidate when he participated in the 2016 election in Donegal. Photograph: Facebook

Cllr Ian McGarvey became the oldest general election candidate when he participated in the 2016 election in Donegal. Photograph: Facebook

 

Tributes have been paid to Ireland’s oldest public representative who turns 91 this week as warnings were raised about ageism.

Independent Cllr Ian McGarvey from Ramelton in Co Donegal has been a member of Donegal County Council since 2003 and has contested four general elections.

He became the oldest general election candidate when he participated in the 2016 election in Donegal.

Paying tribute in the Seanad to the Independent councillor, Fianna Fáil Senator Robbie Gallagher, who he said had worked hard and had been “sticking to the pace for many years”.

“He reaches the young age of 91 years and continues to serve as an active member of Donegal County Council.

“He was first elected to the council at the age of 73 and became mayor and cathaoirleach of Donegal at the age of 82 and he has run in four general elections and I am delighted to say that he is going as hearty and strong as ever.”

Cllr McGarvey became Ireland’s oldest mayor when appointed mayor of Donegal in 2013.

Senator Gallagher said: “I congratulate him for all his hard work and dedication to the good people of his electoral area Letterkenny and Milford and I wish him and his good wife Marjorie continued good health.”

Agesim

Independent Senator Victor Boyhan joined in the tribute and said of Cllr McGarvey “what a wonderful man”.

Mr Boyhan said there was constant talk about bringing new people to politics, “let us also help to support the retention of those already there. Ageism is well alive in politics,” he said and “we should always remember that older people also have a place in politics”.

Fine Gael Senator Regina Doherty said it was “incredible to think Cllr McGarvey has had such a successful career in what we would consider the autumn of his life”.

She said he is “obviously still raring to go and I will send a letter to him on all our behalf today wishing him a happy birthday and continued success”.