Inspirational stories of women in politics

Pictured at the Perfume and Politics evening are Patrica Johnston, Eileen Bell,  Sheila McClelland, Bronagh Hinds and May Beattie.  INCT 49-207-AM
Pictured at the Perfume and Politics evening are Patrica Johnston, Eileen Bell, Sheila McClelland, Bronagh Hinds and May Beattie. INCT 49-207-AM

An event at Carrick Town Hall examining the role of women in politics has received positive feedback from residents of the borough.

The Perfume and Politics evening was organised to raise awareness of the challenges, benefits and context in which women engage in political debate in Northern Ireland.

Organised by Carrickfergus Borough Council’s Good Relations Office in partnership with the Institute of Conflict Research, the discussion took place last Thursday in the Jubilee Hall.

Dr Katy Radford MBE introduced the seminar, followed by a welcome from the Mayoress, Patricia Johnston.

Guest speakers on the evening included Sheila McClelland, Town Clerk and Chief Executive of Carrickfergus Borough Council; Alderman May Beattie, a long-standing Carrick councillor and a member of the newly formed Mid and East Antrim District Council; Bronagh Hinds, a consultant with interests in equality, democracy and governance and a Senior Associate with DemocraShe, and Eileen Bell, former MLA for North Down and former Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

“The speakers each told of their own personal journeys and what led them to get involved in politics,” said Janet Shearer, Assistant Good Relations Officer.

“Each speaker has been involved in politics in different ways; Eileen Bell talked about her work with the Peace Bus and with the prisons, and Bronagh Hinds about her involvement with the Women’s Coalition.

“Sheila McClelland has been involved in politics both at local level and at Stormont. She talked about her motivation for getting into politics, while May Beattie was able to tell us about her time on Carrickfergus Council and being elected to the new Mid and East Antrim Council.

“Their stories were interesting and inspirational and those who attended felt that it was an excellent event; we had some women’s groups, like Women’s Aid, attend on the night.

“Carrickfergus Council is hopeful that this event will be built upon and presented to a wider audience in the future.”