Author: Age NI and Age Sector Platform
Published on 03 October 2011 12:00 PM
Age NI and Age Sector Platform warmly welcome the appointment of Ms Claire Keatinge to the post of Older People’s Commissioner for Northern Ireland and call for Ms Keatinge to take proactive, immediate steps to improve the lives of older people here.
Anne O’Reilly, Age NI Chief Executive commented, 'Age NI is delighted to see Ms Keatinge in the post of Older People’s Commissioner and we wish her well in her new role.
'During the two years of our We Agree campaign, in partnership with Age Sector Platform, we witnessed the undoubted need and support for this post in our conversations with people directly and indirectly affected by the challenges of ageing. We are concerned that current government policies need to be more sophisticated to rise to the challenges and opportunities that our ageing population presents. The Commissioner needs to use their powers to make change happen and ensure that the rights and interests of older people are mainstreamed in government policy.
'The Commissioner’s role will have its own challenges, but we encourage Ms Keatinge to develop relationships immediately with relevant bodies, including the age sector to ensure that those challenges are fully understood and tackled head on. The Commissioner will no doubt appreciate the opportunities that 2012 will also present as European Year of Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity.'
Francis Hughes from Age Sector Platform added, ‘We wish Ms Keatinge well as she gets to grips with the duties of this role. One of Ms Keatinge’s first challenges will be how to engage with the diverse range of older people in Northern Ireland.
'The legislative process was a robust process, and a lot of information has been developed about the issues that a Commissioner may choose to prioritise. We Agree campaigners had one clear message – the Older People’s Commissioner needs to use their substantial powers to make a positive impact on the lives of older people.
'We believe that one of the ways that the new Commissioner can do this is to prioritise their power to commission Conciliation Services to resolve disputes between older people and service providers. This is an innovative approach to improving the lives of older people in a timely and meaningful way.'