COUNCILLOR Ian McGarvey has received birthday wishes from the Seanad to mark his turning 92 years of age.
The Ramelton man first entered politics as a member of Donegal County Council in 2004 when he was 73. He has successfully contested four general elections and last defended his seat in 2019 when he secured a final tally of 1,522 votes.
At 92 he is officially Ireland’s oldest elected politician.
Speaking in the Seanad on Thursday, Fianna Fáil Senator Robbie Gallagher wished Councillor McGarvey well. He said that in a time when ageism was rarely far from the agenda, individuals like the 92-year-old were needed more than ever.
Senator Gallagher said, “I would like to lead congratulations to Councillor McGarvey, a remarkable man who is as active physically and mentally as any younger person.
“Having first being elected in 2004 at 73 years of age, he served as Mayor of Donegal at the age of 82 and in 2018 was elected mayor of Letterkenny.
“At 85 years of age, Ian was Ireland’s oldest ever general election candidate at the 2016 election.
“Councillor McGarvey is clearly not a man to be written off and with his special interest in promoting the interests of the elderly, advocates like him are needed more than ever.
“Ian is a role model for us all, he proves that you can never be too young or too old and that older people should never be dismissed.
“We know how important it is to encourage young people and particularly women to get involved in politics but we shouldn’t lose track of those with life experience.
“Councillor McGarvey proves that age should never be a barrier and we should not lose sight of the value of people of more senior years.”
Senator Gallagher also paid tribute to Marjorie, Ian Mr McGarvey’s wife.
“Of course behind Ian for 68 years has been his devoted wife, Marjorie. May I wish them both continued happiness and good health for many years to come,” he added.