Lisburn man Francis Hughes of the Age Sector Platform recently spoke up on behalf of the elderly during a Pensioners Parliament session.
The group met the Executive Ministers at Stormont for a special Question Time session.
Hosted by Mitchel McLaughlin MLA, the Speaker of the Assembly, the sitting featured discussions on issues contained in their election manifesto, with questions covering fuel poverty, age discrimination and health and social care.
Francis said: “Since 2011, the Pensioners Parliament has engaged with thousands of older people across Northern Ireland, and it’s clear there are many bread and butter issues that older people believe the Assembly could address better.
“There are real fears that, in times of stretched budgets, older people could fall victim to short-sighted policies that will have a negative impact on their quality of life for years to come.”
Francis continued: “We had the opportunity to direct some pointed questions at Ministers on more effective schemes to tackle fuel poverty, plans to end age discrimination, free prescriptions, operation waiting times and home care packages.
“We know the timing of our ‘Question Time’ event means it has the potential to be quite influential.
“With three months to go until the election, it was the ideal time to highlight our concerns with key Ministers, as parties prepare their campaigns and manifestos for the upcoming election.
“Our goal is to see the calls contained in our manifesto replicated in the manifestos of political parties, and these calls to appear in the next Programme for Government.”
For more information on the Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament, visit www.pensionersparliament.org or phone Age Sector Platform on 028 9031 2089.