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Legislation required to end discrimination against the elderly

Resource type: News

Belfast Telegraph |

POLITICIANS must draw up immediate legislation to end discrimination against older people, a seminar in Londonderry has been told. Older people from across the North West gathered at the Age Discrimination research seminar staged recently at the Magee campus of the University of Ulster. Participants at the event said they have encountered discrimination on a number of fronts, including getting insurance, and accessing goods and services and services. The Derry seminar was hosted by Age Sector Platform – an umbrella organisation for older peoples’ groups – and presented research by Professor Brice Dickson and Lisa Glennon from School of Law, Queen’s University, from their report entitled, ‘Making older people equal: how to reform the law on access to services’. Bill Carson, chairman of Age Sector Platform, told those gathered: “Our members have stated loud and clear that continuing age discrimination in 2008 is unacceptable. “They have outlined the barriers they face in trying to get affordable car or travel insurance or access to health and social care that meets their needs. Therefore, I thank Brice and Lisa, on behalf of all the older people we represent, for the work and effort you have put into researching this issue.” Calling for politicians to now intervene in light of the new research, Mr Carson said: “The introduction of equality legislation in Northern Ireland, which features protection for older people in the provision of goods, facilities and services, is needed immediately. We urge the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister to establish such legislation in Northern Ireland as an immediate action. Older people can no longer be treated like second class citizens.” The seminar ended with questions and a discussion from members of the audience. Ladies from Rath Mor Over 50’s Club in Creggan voiced their concerns on age discrimination and how it has affected their ability to access goods, facilities and services. One participant spoke about her difficulty in purchasing travel insurance for her older husband because of his age. She pointed out that his health was better than her own, although this was not taken into account by the insurance company. Mr Carson said: “Examples such as this one demonstrate the need for legislation in Northern Ireland which will prohibit age discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services. Older people in the North West should write to their local MLAs and to the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister to demand this protection.” Age Sector Platform was established in December 2007 as a company limited by guarantee to campaign and lobby for older people in Northern Ireland. The organisation has emerged from the Age Sector Reference Group, which had been in operation for seven years supported by Help the Aged and Age Concern NI. Age Sector Platform has a membership base of 25 older people’s organisations and networks which represent approximately 200,000 older people across Northern Ireland. Age Sector Platform is supported by The Atlantic Philanthropies.

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Northern Ireland


Age Sector Platform, discrimination, pensioners, senior citizens