Parliament for pensioners!

Mayor with Mid East Antrim pensioners:  Mayor of Mid & East Antrim Borough Council, Cllr Billy Ashe, with pensioners Kenneth Wilson and Jean Haveron and Caroline McKeown from Age Sector Platform. Image submitted.
Mayor with Mid East Antrim pensioners: Mayor of Mid & East Antrim Borough Council, Cllr Billy Ashe, with pensioners Kenneth Wilson and Jean Haveron and Caroline McKeown from Age Sector Platform. Image submitted.

Around 80 older people from across the Borough have taken part in the first ever Mid & East Antrim ‘Pensioners Parliament’.

The parliament, organised by Age Sector Platform, was held in the Tullyglass Hotel in Ballymena and was officially opened by Mayor of Mid & East Antrim, Cllr Billy Ashe.

Audience: Around 80 older people from across the borough attended the Mid & East Antrim Pensioners Parliament. Image submitted

Audience: Around 80 older people from across the borough attended the Mid & East Antrim Pensioners Parliament. Image submitted

The gathering was the seventh 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 Tommy Nicholl (DUP), Cllr Beth Adger (DUP), Cllr Timothy Gaston (TUV) and Cllr Stephen Nicholl (UUP).

Assembly candidates who played their part in the Stormont Q&A included Gordon Lyons (DUP), Connor Duncan (SDLP), Roy Beggs (UUP) and Stewart Dickson (Alliance).

Councillor Panel: L-R Cllr Tommy Nicholl (DUP), Cllr Beth Adger (DUP), Cllr Timothy Gaston (TUV) and Cllr Stephen Nicholl (UUP).   Image submitted.

Councillor Panel: L-R Cllr Tommy Nicholl (DUP), Cllr Beth Adger (DUP), Cllr Timothy Gaston (TUV) and Cllr Stephen Nicholl (UUP). Image submitted.

Caroline McKeown from Age Sector Platform commented: “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.”

“This is a crucial year for older people to make their voice heard as we approach the Assembly election in May. The Pensioners Parliament has not waited for parties to develop their own manifesto; we have created our own! 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.