Power to the pensioners as first ‘parliament’ held in Cookstown

Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Cllr Linda Dillon, with pensioners Derek Watters and Violet Little and Raymond McGarvey from Age Sector Platform
Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Cllr Linda Dillon, with pensioners Derek Watters and Violet Little and Raymond McGarvey from Age Sector Platform

The first ever Mid Ulster Pensioners Parliament took place on Friday, with around 60 older people from the district taking part.

The parliament, organised by Age Sector Platform, was held in the Glenavon House Hotel in Cookstown and was officially opened by Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Cllr Linda Dillon.

Around 60 older people from across the district attended the Mid Ulster Pensioners Parliament

Around 60 older people from across the district attended the Mid Ulster Pensioners Parliament

The parliament was the eighth of eleven local parliaments being held across the province, with one being held in each new council area for the first time.

The parliament featured interactive voting, discussion and Q&A with panels of local Councillors and Assembly candidates.

Councillors answering questions on the day included Cllr Kenneth Reid (UUP), Cllr Barry Monteith (Independent), Cllr Linda Dillon (Sinn Féin) & Cllr Frances Burton (DUP).

Assembly candidates that took part in the Stormont Q&A included Patsy McGlone (SDLP), Ian McCrea (DUP), Sandra Overend (UUP) and Ian Milne (Sinn Féin).

Patsy McGlone (SDLP), Ian McCrea (DUP), Sandra Overend (UUP) and Ian Milne (Sinn F�in)

Patsy McGlone (SDLP), Ian McCrea (DUP), Sandra Overend (UUP) and Ian Milne (Sinn F�in)

Raymond McGarvey from Age Sector Platform said he was delighted that local older people were able to have their voices heard.

“I’m delighted there was such a strong interest from older people in this council area to attend their parliament, as it gave us the chance to make sure our politicians heard our voice loud and clear,” he said.

“This is a crucial year for older people to make their voice heard as we approach the Assembly election in May.

“McGarvey ; we have created our own.

Cllr Kenneth Reid (UUP), Cllr Barry Monteith (Independent), Cllr Linda Dillon (Sinn F�in) & Cllr Frances Burton (DUP)

Cllr Kenneth Reid (UUP), Cllr Barry Monteith (Independent), Cllr Linda Dillon (Sinn F�in) & Cllr Frances Burton (DUP)

Mr McGarvey added: “I would encourage anyone who couldn’t attend the parliament to add your support to the Pensioners Parliament manifesto.”

Download a copy of the Pensioners Parliament manifesto at www.agesectorplatform.org or phone 028 9031 2089 for a batch to distribute.

Age Sector Platform (ASP) was established in 2008 to be a strong unified voice for older people in Northern Ireland.

It has a membership base of older people’s organisations and networks which represent approximately 200,000 older people across Northern Ireland.

It is the charity responsible for the Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament. For more information visit www.agesectorplatform.org.

For more information on the Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament visit www.pensionersparliament.org.