OLDER people across Fermanagh are urged to register for this month’s Pensioners Parliament, which takes place at the Bawnacre Centre in Irvinestown on February 26.
Now in its fifth year, the Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament was set up by Age Sector Platform in 2011 to allow anyone over the age of 60 the chance to have their say on the issues that matter to them. Local parliaments provide a forum to discuss concerns in greater detail, and allow both local and regional issues to be identified, debated and voted on.
Fermanagh woman Patricia Donald, who is a member of the Pensioners Parliament committee, urged as many local older people as possible to attend to have their voice heard, and pointed out only those who attend the local parliaments could attend the two-day parliament in Belfast in autumn.
“We’ve been going five years now. This year is different, we have more Pensioners Parliaments than ever before as we’re running one in every council area,” she said. “It’s good, because we’ll have our councillors will all be present. So far we have 98 people booked, from across Fermanagh and Omagh district, and we’re hoping for a lot more. “People who want to come need to register, which they can do by phone or online. Please come have your say because if you don’t and things don’t happen you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.”
Ms Donald said the Pensioners Parliament had published a manifesto, which highlighted priorities including ensuring the free bus pass and free prescriptions for everyone over 60 are protected; substantially reducing operation waiting times and ensuring care packages are based on need; ensuring the most vulnerable older people are assisted with their energy bills; and tackling age discrimination.
“Our goal is to see the calls contained in our manifesto replicated in the manifestos of local political parties, and eventually for these calls to appear in the next Programme for Government,” she said. “Timing is everything, and now is the time for older people to ensure our voices are heard.”
If you want to attend this month’s Pensioners Parliament in Irvinestown, call 90312089 or register online at www.pensionersparliament.org.
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Posted: 1:00 pm February 18, 2016