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Author: Age NI
Published on 10 June 2014 09:30 AM

New figures* released today from a survey conducted by Millward Brown for Age NI show that there is strong public support for our Assembly to show leadership and urgently prioritise  legislation to end age discrimination here.

At present, people in Northern Ireland can be discriminated against on the grounds of age when accessing goods, facilities and services like health, financial or retail services unlike those in England, Wales, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland where there is protection against age discrimination in place.

The survey results show that:

  • 77% agree/strongly agree that the NI Assembly must show leadership and take action to address age discrimination in NI
  • 71% agree/strongly agree that full protection from discrimination on the grounds of age must be an urgent priority for the NI Assembly
  • 70% agree/strongly agree that age discrimination has a negative impact on quality of life
  • 92% agree/strongly agree that the legislation should extend to people of all ages**

The NI Executive promised to extend age discrimination legislation in the Programme for Government by May 2015 but with no policy or draft legislation produced to date, there are fears that this promise won’t be kept. 

Linda Robinson, Age NI Chief Executive says, ‘Older people in Northern Ireland are being left behind and are being treated like second class citizens compared to those in GB and the Republic of Ireland.  People tell us all too often that age discrimination is having an impact on their lives. 
‘Time is running out to deliver this legislation before the next Assembly elections as promised.  Right now our politicians are failing to deliver for us all.  Unfair discrimination is harmful not only to older people who experience it, but to our society as a whole.  If we are to meet the needs of an ageing demographic and ensure that increasing numbers of older people are not met with prejudice, isolation and inequality in later life, then it is essential that age discrimination legislation is introduced to Northern Ireland in the area of goods, facilities and services.  This is all the more frustrating given significant political support for the legislation, with a poll conducted last year by Stratagem/ComRes** finding that 87% of MLAs agreed that it must be a priority for this current NI Executive to deliver legislation outlawing age discrimination.’ 

‘The message from our research is loud and clear.  The time has come for action from OFMdFM on this matter. If proposals are not put out to consultation before summer recess, there will not be time to ensure that all the usual legislative stages are applied.  Age NI calls on Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness to publish a credible timeline to get this legislation passed before May 2016 and ensure that people receive protection from harmful discrimination on the grounds of age.  This should be the right of all people in Northern Ireland.’

*Millward Brown Research, March 2014
**Millward Brown Research, April 2014
**MLA research panel, December 2013, complied by Stratagem and ComRes

For more information: Call Age NI Advice: 0808 808 7575