‘Age discrimination motion a positive step forward’ – Fearon
Sinn Féin MLA Megan Fearon has welcomed the motion passed in the Assembly, which calls upon the office of First and Deputy First Ministers 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 to Newry Times, Fearon said, “This motion having been passed, demonstrates the Assembly’s endorsement of the need to ensure both our children and young people as well as our older persons are protected against discrimination in respect of goods, facilities and services, in an array of areas, be it 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 – 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 flood gates 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.
Fearon added, “I hope now, given the endorsement of the Assembly,that broad reaching progressive legislation is taken forward during this mandate and which affords everyone protection in respect of age discrimination.”
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