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Ageist language about older voters must be challenged

04 July, 2016
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In the wake of the referendum results, the Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland (COPNI), Eddie Lynch, has said that ageist language about older voters must be challenged.

Eddie Lynch said: "Over the past week, I have listened to much commentary in the aftermath of the Brexit vote and have become increasingly concerned about some of the language and comments being made about older people in relation to the referendum result.


"I understand that emotions are running high at this time but there can be no excuse for the ageist and discriminatory tone in some of the commentary following the result.


"As Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland, I am appalled by suggestions that older people shouldn't be allowed to vote or that there should be an upper age limit to their eligibility to vote. It is also deeply troubling to hear some commentators suggesting how older people should have voted.

"I am absolutely committed to everyone's freedom of expression but I would ask people to consider the tone of what they are saying and the impact of ageist language on older people.

"It is a myth that older people all voted one way. Like most of the rest of the population, older people's votes were split. 6 out ten older people voted to Leave, but that means 4 out of 10 voted to Remain. Older people are a diverse group of people, coming from a range of backgrounds with different political views.

"As a democratic society, it is vital that we value and respect everyone's voice, and therefore comments that older people's views and opinions count for less must be strongly challenged and rejected."