Published on 05 April 2011 04:30 PM
Robin Newton has responded to the manifesto unveiled by Age NI and Age Sector Platform.
Robin Newton said:
'We have long recognised that older people represent an important and growing section of our society.
'They are a diverse group of people but they are also a group of people with distinct interests which must be recognised, protected and represented.
'That is why in the Executive’s Programme for Government DUP Ministers gave a commitment to provide "a strong independent voice" for older people.
'DUP Ministers worked closely with the main age sector representative groups, the Older People’s Advocate and other interested stakeholders to bring forward a Bill to establish a Commissioner.
'That Bill has now received Royal Assent and our focus is now on appointing the Commissioner before the start of the new Assembly term in September.
'Northern Ireland is now at the forefront internationally when dealing with older peoples issues. By giving the Older Persons’ Commissioner a wide range of functions, duties and powers, and closing the gaps with other relevant bodies.
'Our intention in establishing a Commissioner for Older People and delivering on our Programme for Government commitment was to ensure that older people’s voices are heard. DUP representatives will continue this vital work in the new administration.'