People were puzzled by Lord Laird’s question on older drivers but this Laird question and answer is more obviously useful. He wanted to know how many senior citizens have taken up Translink smart cards since their introduction in May 2002. The minister published a league table comparing take up with eligible population, in June 2004. There are some striking gaps in, for example, Mid Ulster and in Fermanagh and South Tyrone. Any explanations?
Belfast East, 13,604/14,981. Belfast North, 12,840/14,290. Belfast South, 11,856/13,111. Belfast West, 9,249/10,445. East Antrim,10,886/12,038. East Londonderry, 9,421/12,122. Fermanagh and South Tyrone, 8433/13,119. Foyle, 9,157/11,077. Lagan Valley, 12,228/13,936. Mid Ulster, 6,575/10,344.
Newry and Armagh, 9,556/12,883. North Antrim, 11,082/15,537. North Down, 13,306/14,766. South Antrim, 10,880/12,710. South Down, 10,517/13,716. Strangford, 11,852/74,113. Upper Bann,11,742/13,701. West Tyrone, 7,294/10,524.
Gary Kent is a graduate of international relations. After spells in management in British Rail and the Co-Op he began work in parliament in 1987 where he was active for two decades on Anglo-Irish peace activity against terrorism and now as secretary of the all-party parliamentary group on the Kurdistan Region in Iraq, which he has visited 27 times since 2006. He used to be a columnist for Fortnight Magazine and writes a regular column for the Kurdish Rudaw outlet and many other publications.