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Locally enacted legislation needed to protect elderly - Anderson

24 January, 2011 - by Maeve McLaughlin

Sinn Féin MLA and equality spokesperson Martina Anderson has stated that legislative protections must be put in place as a matter of urgency following the shocking revelations of the way a care worker treated a patient with Alzheimers Disease.

Speaking earlier Ms Anderson said:

"The need for the streamlining of legislation to provide robust protections and safeguards for older people has never been more clearly needed than in the case highlighted today of Mrs McCluskey who’s carer has admitted to abuse of the 70 year old  Alzheimer sufferer.

“Currently the legislation is fragmented and spread across countless bills making a jumble of  protections that are easily lost or confused. Confused law is at times the same as no law.

“There is an urgent need streamline this legislation to provide adequate protection. A Single Equality Bill and a Bill of Rights can provide the types of protections and safeguards that could protect against the abuse of not just the elderly, but children, minorities or those with disabilities.

“While, gravely it is too late in the case of the abuse of Ms McCluskey it can stop this type of incident happening again.

“I noted that Jeffrey Donaldson, the DUP MP for Mrs McCloskey's constituency, has been on the media calling for protections and that Nigel Dodds, another DUP MP,  is calling for the same in Westminster. The simple fact is however that they can implement these protections locally through the Assembly yet have blocked any such approach. They are failing the citizen of the north with this approach.

“Clearly any obstacle towards the reaching of the required level of legislative protections must be removed so as to provide the maximum in protections for the vulnerable in society. To do any less is a gross disservice to the people we are elected to serve.”

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