The Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon Pensioners Parliament took place recently with around 100 older people from the borough taking part.
The parliament, organised by Age Sector Platform and supported by Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council, was held in Craigavon Civic Centre and was officially opened by Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon, Alderman Gareth Wilson.
The parliament was the second of eleven local parliaments taking place across the province in the coming months, with one being held in each council area in Northern Ireland. The parliament featured interactive voting, discussion and Q&A with panels of local Councillors, MLAs and policy experts.
Councillors answering questions on the day included Alderman Jim Speers (UUP) and Cllr Joe Nelson (SDLP). During the afternoon, questions from the floor were directed at an ‘expert panel’ made up of MLAs Doug Beattie, Carla Lockhart and John O’Dowd, alongside Melanie McClements from the Southern Health & Social Care Trust, Paulino Garcia from the Consumer Council and Terry Butler from Translink.
Nixon Armstrong from Age Sector Platform said: “This has been a great opportunity for 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, keeping warm in winter and the fear of crime. With the Assembly having primary responsible for these issues, it’s no surprise that 2 out of 3 older people believed their quality of life had suffered as a result of the Assembly’s collapse.”