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Ageist backlash in the wake of Brexit a disgrace...elderly have as much right to a vote as anyone else

letter of the day: referendum aftermath

Published 05/07/2016

Over the past week I have listened to much commentary in the aftermath of the Brexit vote and have become increasingly concerned about some of the language and comments being made about older people in relation to the referendum result.

I understand that emotions are running high at this time, but there can be no excuse for the ageist and discriminatory tone in some of the commentary following the result.

As Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland, I am appalled by suggestions that older people shouldn't be allowed to vote, or that there should be an upper age limit to their eligibility to vote.

It is also deeply troubling to hear some commentators suggesting how older people should have voted.

I am absolutely committed to everyone's freedom of expression, but I would ask people to consider the tone of what they are saying and the impact of ageist language on older people.

It is a myth that older people all voted one way. Like most of the rest of the population, older people's votes were split.

Six out of 10 older people voted to Leave, but that means four out of 10 voted to Remain. Older people are a diverse group of people, coming from a range of backgrounds, with different political views.

As a democratic society it is vital that we value and respect everyone's voice and, therefore, comments that older people's views and opinions count for less must be strongly challenged and rejected.


Commissioner for Older People for NI

Belfast Telegraph

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