A NEWRY and Armagh MLA has told of a case locally where an elderly man was denied treatment because of his age.
Sinn Fein’s Megan Fearon made the revelation as she welcomed the passing of a motion in the Assembly which could help end such acts.
The motion called upon the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister to ensure that, in delivering the Programme for Government, commitment to extend age discrimination legislation to the provision of goods, facilities and services, should afford protection to everyone regardless of age.
Speaking tonight (Friday), Ms Fearon said the move demonstrated the Assembly’s endorsement of the need to ensure children and young people – as well as the elderly – were protected against discrimination in respect of goods, facilities and services, in an array of areas, such as health, education or financial services.
“In my own constituency I know of a case where an elderly man was denied treatment due to his age,” she stated. “This is simply not good enough.
“We also know of cases where children are banned from various centres simply because of their age. This legislation should be inclusive with protections for all from discrimination.
“We now need to realise that everyone in society has rights and work towards respecting people regardless of age.
“A particular area of concern is in respect of the provision of mental health services and facilities for children and young people. The current under provision and, in some cases, complete lack of provision, is nothing short of a disgrace.
“Australia’s age discrimination legislation has demonstrated that protection within this arena can be broad in its reach in affording protection for all regardless of age, and has not led to the floodgates being swept open in terms of litigation, which is a claim used by those who wish to discriminate against young people having protection under this type of legislation.
“I hope now, given the endorsement of the Assembly, that broad reaching progressive legislation is taken forward during this mandate which affords everyone protection in respect of age discrimination.”