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Author: Strabane Weekly News
Published on 21 April 2011 11:00 AM

West Tyrone Sinn Fein Assembly candidates, Michaela Boyle and Pat Doherty, voiced their support for the 'high 5 priorities' at a meeting with members of the Strabane and District Caring Services in the town.

As set out in the Age NI and Age Sector Platform election manifesto, the 'high 5 priorities for ageing well' include tackling fuel poverty, maximising pensioner income, social care, ending age discrimination, and tackling fear of crime.

The Sinn Fein representatives outlined the following commitment to the priorities:

Tackling Fuel Poverty: "Sinn Féin were instrumental in ensuring that Winter Fuel Payments were paid to the maximum number of people," Ms Boyle and Mr Doherty said. "Initially Margaret Ritchie, as Department for Social Development Minister, was not going to pay 36,000 pensioners their Winter Fuel Payment but Sinn Féin Executive Members ensured that these people did receive payments."

Maximising Pensioner Income: "Sinn Féin continues to ensure that people 60 + are able to maximise their income through pension credits. Currently in the 6 counties every week over £1 Million in pension credit goes unclaimed and returns to the British Treasury.  Sinn Féin continues to encourage older people to claim all available benefits."

Social Care: "Sinn Féin continues to ensure that the elderly are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve and that social care is freely available at the point of need. Proper infrastructure needs to be in place to ensure that elderly people can remain in their own homes within their own communities."

End Age Discrimination: "Sinn Féin will guarantee equality for older people in the areas of employment, healthcare and services.  We will fight for those who are discriminated against. Already due to changes in pension age women are finding that state pension & pension credit is not paid at age 60- - they must wait much longer."

Tackling Fear of Crime: "Sinn Féin supports all measures which make people safer and reduce fear.  To this end we have weighed in behind groups such as local Community Safety Partnerships who help to reduce crime through a range of initiatives including distribution of safety alarms, organising festivals which reduce antisocial behaviour and providing small grants to improve the appearance of our neighbourhoods."

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