Belfast Telegraph

Pensioner issues 'must be debated'

Major concerns facing Northern Ireland's older generation must be a key priority for Assembly hopefuls in the election, campaigners have urged.

Noting that one in five voters is over 65, Age NI and Age Sector Platform told candidates they must listen to the problems facing older people.

The groups has highlighted five issues that they say must be dealt with as a matter of urgency by the incoming Executive and Assembly.

They are: tackling fuel poverty; maximising pensioner income; fundamentally reviewing social care provision; ending age discrimination; and tackling fear of crime.

Bill Carson, chairman of Age Sector Platform, said: "Our High 5 campaign is based on the key issues that older people have identified and should be seen as essential reading by all political parties and candidates.

"We have outlined five actions older people can take to ensure that these issues are heard by politicians across Northern Ireland. We hope to see the power of the grey vote put into action in the next few weeks."

Anne O'Reilly, Age NI chief executive, said: "Older people are motivated about the upcoming election.

"Older people are telling us they're planning to exercise their collective muscle through the ballot box so that things are improved, not only for themselves, but for future generations of older people.

"Twenty-one per cent of eligible voters here are over 65 - that's 252,462 older people who could make or break a candidate's election campaign.

"We want the High 5 campaign to empower those in later life to really question and debate with their local politicians about the big issues. Things need to change - older people intend to make that change happen on May 5 by making their vote count."

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