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North West older people attend age discrimination seminar

The existence of age discrimination in Northern Ireland was the basis of a research seminar in the Magee campus of the University of Ulster last week.  The seminar, hosted by Age Sector Platform, 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, Chair of Age Sector Platform, welcomed older people from across the North West and those with an interest in the age sector to the seminar.

He commented: “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.”

Mr Carson continued:  “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 Rathmore over 50’s Club 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 commented: “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 MLA’s and to the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister to demand this protection.”