Older people lament collapse of Assembly

Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, Cllr Uel Mackin, is pictured at the Lisburn and Castlereagh Pensioners' Parliament with Hugh Russell from Carryduff, Mary Marr from Lisburn and Rose Holt from Lisburn.
Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, Cllr Uel Mackin, is pictured at the Lisburn and Castlereagh Pensioners' Parliament with Hugh Russell from Carryduff, Mary Marr from Lisburn and Rose Holt from Lisburn.

A Pensioners’ Parliament held in Lisburn has heard how many older people believe the collapse of the Stormont Assembly has had a negative impact on their quality of life.

The event organised by Age Sector Platform – the last of 11 local parliaments to take place across Northern Ireland – saw 60 older people engage in discussions, question and answer sessions and votes on a variety of topics.

Mary Marr, Age Sector Platform.

Mary Marr, Age Sector Platform.

Key findings from interactive votes taken during the Pensioners’ Parliament included:

• More than two thirds (70%) believe the collapse of the NI Assembly has had a negative impact on their quality of life

• More than two out of five (43%) are more fearful of becoming a victim of crime compared to two years ago

• Around two thirds (65%) have seen no improvement in their care as a result of ‘transformation’ within the health service

• Around one in five (19%) have had to cut back on essentials such as food during the last two years to afford the cost of heating their home

• More than half (58%) feel they have been discriminated against because of their age in areas like healthcare, financial services, transport or retail.

“Among the top issues concerning older people in this area are access to health and social care, fear of crime and transport. With the Northern Ireland Assembly having primary responsible for these issues, it’s no surprise that more than two out of three older people in attendance believed their quality of life had suffered as a result of the Assembly’s collapse,” said Mary Marr from Age Sector Platform.

The mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh, Cllr Uel Mackin added: “In the Lisburn and Castlereagh area we have an ageing population and through all council plans and initiatives we have considered this trend. This is essential to make sure our society is all-inclusive and everyone, including the older members of our community, feel valued and respected.”