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Age discrimination motion a step forward for equality

13 March, 2013

Sinn Féin MLA Megan Fearon has welcomed the motion passed in the Assembly, which called upon the office of First and Deputy First Ministers to ensure that in delivering on the Programme For Government commitment, to extend age discrimination legislation to the provision of goods, facilities and services, the legislation affords protection to everyone regardless of age.

Ms. Megan said,

 “This motion having 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 should not be legal. 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, when it comes to provision of goods, facilities and services. A particular area of concern is in respect to 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 being able to have protection under this type of legislation.

“I hope now given the endorsement of the Assembly for broad reaching progressive legislation which affords to all regardless of age protection in respect of age discrimination legislation for goods, facilities and services, that there will be no delay and that OFMdFM continue with any necessary preparatory work to ensure the legislation is taken forward during this mandate.”

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