Retiring Councillor Ian McGarvey has signed off on his last full county council meeting.
But his constituents in Ramelton and Letterkenny-Milford can rest assured that he’ll be fighting for them for another few months, as he’ll not be officially giving up his seat until 2023. Cllr McGarvey’s seat will be co-opted at the end of January. It’s expected that his nephew, Pauric McGarvey, will take up the mantle.
Cllr McGarvey, aged 92, is Ireland’s oldest public representative. A lifetime campaigner, he has dedicated 18 years to representing the Milford area at a local level.
A special presentation was made to Cllr McGarvey in Lifford yesterday marking his formidable career in politics, which only began when he was 73 years of age.
Councillors from all parties paid tribute to Cllr McGarvey’s inspirational drive and determination, proving that you’re never too old to reach for your goals.
Cllr McGarvey was first elected to Donegal County Council in 2004, after numerous attempts, and six weeks short of his 74th birthday. He was reelected again in 2009, 2014 and in 2019 he took the last seat in Milford in a surprise turn of events. He had the pride of being the first Independent Mayor of Donegal in 2014, and later the Mayor of Letterkenny-Milford and he also ran in four general elections. His highlights include walking the New York City parade on St. Patrick’s Day, representing his municipal district in Rudolstadt and, even though he’s a lifelong teetotaler, having a German vineyard dedicated to him and his wife Marjorie.
Cathaoirleach Liam Blaney said he always thought Cllr McGarvey would run again in the next elections, which is why his retirement announcement came as such a surprise.
“Ian you’re someone to be looked up to,” said Cllr Martin Harley, who said his drive to get elected was an example to young people to never give up.
Councillors hailed Cllr McGarvey’s dedication to the community, to helping the people that he represents, and to representing people countywide in age-friendly organisations. Cllr Gerry Crawford commented that the people who elected Ian certainly got value for money, while Cllr Rena Donaghey praised Ian as modest, intelligent, a great worker, a great footballer and a great dancer.
Cllr McGarvey expressed a deep gratitude to his fellow councillors and said: “life is about challenges. The one overriding factor is that we are all in this together. It’s our people and it’s our county, from Ramelton right through to the international stage.”