LONELINESS, crime, poverty, and, above all, the ongoing stalemate at Stormont are the main concerns facing local pensioners in Fermanagh.
At last Friday’s Pensioners Parliament, held at the Westville Hotel, the crowd of just under 100 were surveyed on the issues that most concerned them. Top of the list was the collapse of the Assembly, with three out of five stating they felt the political impasse had had a negative impact on their lives.
Other issues included crime, with almost a third stating they were now more fearful of becoming a victim then they were two years ago. Another was money, with a third stated they’d had to cut back on essentials during the last two years in order to heat their home. Sadly, almost one-in-ten locals said they felt lonely every day, with almost a quarter feeling lonely a few times a week.
The event, which takes place every two years, was attended by representatives from the health service, transport, local councillors and two MLAs, Colm Gildernew and Rosemary Barton, who were on hand to answer pensioners’ concerns.
Speaking after the event, Fermanagh woman Patricia Donald said: “This has been a great opportunity for local older people to make their voice heard, and they have been very vocal. The issues concerning older people in this area the most are access to health and social care, transport and keeping warm in winter.
“With the Northern Ireland Assembly having primary responsible for these issues, it’s no surprise that more than three out of five older people in attendance believed their quality of life had suffered as a result of the Assembly’s collapse.”