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Author: BBC News - www.bbc.co.uk/news
Published on 03 May 2011 06:30 AM

Older people in Northern Ireland are challenging would-be assembly members to address age discrimination.

They said they are not afforded the same legal protection as their counterparts in Great Britain or the Republic of Ireland.

Anne O'Reilly, Age NI, said: "In NI, it is still legal to discriminate on the grounds of age, in relation to goods, facilities and services.

"We cannot continue to lag behind on this issue."

Ms O'Reilly called on the new assembly to introduce legislation to protect older people who have been refused insurance, health care, and access to financial services.

"If they (assembly members) don't, Northern Ireland will be a very poor place to grow older," she said.

Bill Carson, chair of Age Sector Platform, said: "Older people are telling us that they are made to feel like second class citizens, undervalued and with little to offer.

"The argument shouldn't be about young versus old - it should be about a fairer, more equal society for everyone, regardless of age."

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