Following the Assembly debate, Kieran McCarthy MLA said: “We would like to see the creation of a Commissioner for Older people to protect their interests. We do, however, want to ensure that the office of this Commissioner delivers the best possible value for money, because we want to ensure that as much of our limited budget can be allocated to vital frontline services
“Local ratepayers will simply not put up with another costly quango. We must have a fair deal for older people.
“In this chamber in December I paid tribute to organizations such as Help the Aged, Age Concern, and the Over 50s Forum, among others, for the remarkable work they do to address the needs of older people. We are fortunate to have these organizations functioning in Northern Ireland, because they already offer many of the resources and expertise the office we are discussing today would require.
“So there is no point in duplicating services yet again. When the Alliance Party advocates a Commissioner for Older People, we mean just that – a Commissioner, working alongside our excellent local voluntary bodies to deliver an advocacy and information service which sets the standard for those elsewhere.”