Tuesday 29 July 2014
Representatives from Age Sector Platform and Age NI will today meet with Junior Ministers Jonathan Bell and Jennifer McCann to stress the importance of legislation to outlaw age discrimination in areas like healthcare, financial services and retail. Age NI and Age Sector Platform are calling on the Northern Ireland Executive to progress with the legislation urgently to ensure older people are provided with the same protection as their counterparts in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. As the charities launch their position paper Stop Age Discrimination, they say action on this outstanding Programme for Government commitment is long overdue.
Francis Hughes, Chair of Age Sector Platform, commented, “As an older person, it is difficult to accept that it is perfectly legal to deny me and my peers access to services or treatment simply because of our age, but at the moment that is the case here. The Northern Ireland Executive has pledged to introduce legislation to make these sorts of practices illegal, but unfortunately there has been a delay in bringing this important law forward. At the recent Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament, we heard shocking evidence from Professor Mark Lawler in relation to age discrimination in cancer treatment. It is clear that the introduction of this legislation could prove to have life or death consequences for older people in Northern Ireland, and we need action now.”
“At this stage, it is worrying that the time available for proper engagement and participation of older people will be limited. Progress needs to be made soon so that we may have a say on something which will undoubtedly have huge impact on our lives. Older people have campaigned for this legislation for over ten years. We deserve to live in a place where it is unlawful to be discriminated against because of our age.”
Linda Robinson, Age NI Chief Executive said, “Older people in Northern Ireland tell us that they are seriously concerned about being treated like second class citizens compared to those in GB and RoI. In recent weeks we heard from Pat Kelso, who had to seek private treatment for a hip replacement because her age prevented timely treatment on the NHS. We have also recently been contacted by someone who believes they have been refused a mortgage on the grounds of age. Both have talked about the serious and negative impact this potential discrimination has had on their lives. These are two of many examples of older people who’ve sought advice from Age NI about age discrimination. In addition, we have engaged directly with over 130 people in later life on this specific issue. It’s time to listen.”