Steve Rodan is to step down officially from his role as president of Tynwald on July 19, ending nearly three decades in Manx politics.

The 66-year-old said: ’It’s been a wonderful experience, meeting some terrific people along the way.

’I can honestly say that my colleagues in Tynwald have been driven by public service to do what they see as the best thing for the people of the Isle of Man.

’The institution of Tynwald is timeless.’

Raised in Glasgow, Mr Rodan had a keen interest in pharmacy, and so studied it at university.

He said: ’I scraped a degree because I was distracted by the politics of the 1970s.

’I became a chairman of the Scottish Young Liberals and was quite active in the Scottish Liberal Party, I even stood for general election as a Liberal candidate.’

Following his time at university, he managed a pharmacy in Bermuda and made ’many Manx friends’ while he was there who ’spoke highly of the Isle of Man’.

’We decided that that’s where we would like to go when our time in Bermuda came to an end, so I took a bit of a gamble and applied for a job in Laxey where they were looking for a pharmacist and I bought the business,’ Mr Rodan added.

He continued: ’I really had no intention of getting involved in Manx politics and I felt very much like a guest in someone else’s country.

’What brought me in was something called Operation Clean Sweep, a government campaign in 1994 which involved cleaning and improving the appearance of the island’s villages and towns.’

The Laxey resident got involved with the campaign and then joined Laxey Commissioners where he remained for four years serving as chairman for two.

In 1995, he was persuaded to stand as for Garff in the Keys.

Mr Rodan continued: ’By that time, if politics is in your blood, there’s not much you can do about it, so I felt I would always regret it if I never stood.

’I was elected and the people of Garff were good enough to re-elect me and I left the House of Keys in 2016 when I was elected president of Tynwald.’

He added: ’I really never thought someone with my accent, which is so obviously non-Manx, would ever have the great privilege of being president of Tynwald.

’If you think it’s a great honour for a Manx person, then for an adopted Manxman, it’s an even greater one.’

When asked what he was most proud of achieving in his career, he cited a few policies he had introduced.

Mr Rodan said: ’In 2006, I moved an amendment to the electoral registration bill that was going through which in effect gave the vote to 16 and 17 year olds and it was an opportunity I took to test the political appetite for giving the vote to 16 year olds.

’I was quite amazed when it went through but we became certainly the first in Europe to give 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote.

’I think for those young people who are really interested in politics, having the opportunity to vote will give them a lifelong passion for politics.’

He also spoke about the creation of Bunscoill Ghaelgagh in 2001.

’The primary school has not only given children a great bilingual education, but has helped strengthen the future of the Manx language,’ he said.

Mr Rodan explained the most difficult part of his job as president of Tynwald had been to remain impartial.

He said: ’I’m required to have a strictly impartial, non-political role and it can be quite challenging when you’ve been involved in the front line of political debate for so many years and you can no longer take part in it.

’So, I think now is the right time to go.’

He felt the part he would miss most was ’the fellowship of Tynwald’.

Mr Rodan added: ’I’ll miss that and some of the debates - not all of them though!

’It’s just been great to have been part of the Isle of Man developing itself politically and successfully for the benefit of the people.’

He continued: ’My hope is that the people of the Isle of Man will recognise the value of that institution, whatever they may think of the individual politicians who inhabit it at any one time.

’It is Tynwald that will ensure the continuing well being of the Isle of Man with the ability to govern ourselves.

’That is very important work for a parliamentarian.’

In 2019, Mr Rodan was awarded an OBE for service to the Isle of Man for which he was ’very grateful’.

He added: ’I think that also reflected some of the interests I’ve had over the years.

’I have always had the support of my wife and family without whom it’s very difficult to commit to the demands of public life.

’It was really nice to just be recognised in that way as well, it was a lovely thing.’

Recapping on how he had to adapt for the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Rodan called it ’extraordinary’.

He said: ’Tynwald was required to pass literally hundreds of pieces of emergency legislation under emergency powers and public health legislation, but was unable to meet physically to do so.

’So we, over the last 18 months, have been meeting online virtually, to ensure that necessary legislation was scrutinised and put into effect and there were quite a few technical challenges which we were able to overcome.

’It shows the adaptability to circumstances and its [Tynwald’s] absolute necessity over the years for the island to function properly.’

Mr Rodan’s last Tynwald Day as a politician was on July 5 which he described as an ’emotional’ experience.

He said: ’It was very nice to receive a round of applause when I stepped off the hill.

’Tynwald is at the centre of the distinct Manx culture and tradition alongside the language and the cultural traditions that have grown up over the years and of which we’re very proud.

’It’s been a great privilege to make a contribution.’

The politician is excited to spend more time with family and travelling.

He continued: ’I’m looking forward to spending time with grandchildren, travelling across to see family, which is something so many people in the Isle of Man are looking forward to doing again normally.’

He felt the time was right to step away.

’After 30 years in continuous public office, I’ve reached my shelf life.

’I’ll hang up my wig for the last time and enjoy the years left with my wife and family.

Mr Rodan advised his successor to ’enjoy it’.

He said: ’Enjoy the fantastic opportunity to give impartial leadership to our national parliament, to ensure that the public business is subject to proper scrutiny by all members using check and balance mechanisms, which exist in Tynwald to ensure the best possible governance of the island.’

Mr Rodan added: ’Enjoy flying the flag for the Isle of Man, because the most fulfilling part of the job is to represent the island on the international stage.’

’Thank you to the electorate for giving me my opportunity and to my Tynwald colleagues for having me,’ he said.