Tackling ageism

The Commissioner’s priorities are centred around the overarching theme of Tackling Ageism. 

The Commissioner will undertake both planned and reactive work throughout his term, some of which will be planned projects and some of which will emerge as the term progresses. In addition to the specific planned projects, the Commissioner will also keep under close review all issues affecting the interests of, or services available to older people. He will also collaborate with key agencies and government to affect positive change for older people.


Better health and social care

  • The Reform of Adult Social Care in Northern Ireland.
  • The Adult Protection Bill.
  • The contractual arrangements for older people living in care home settings.
  • Ensure remaining recommendations contained in the Home Truths report are implemented.

The COVID-19 pandemic inquiry

  • Continue calls for government to launch a Northern Ireland specific public inquiry into care homes and co-operate with any wider public inquiry relating to the Covid Pandemic.
  • The Commissioner’s office will engage as appropriate and provide key evidence during the Inquiry period. 

Affordable energy

  • Provide advice to government and relevant agencies on the urgent development of a fuel poverty strategy for Northern Ireland.
  • Participate in the cross-agency consumer vulnerability group (as necessary) to inform a refreshed terms of reference and promote the needs of older people in relation to energy issues.
  • Advise the relevant government departments and the Northern Ireland Executive on the need for financial support to older people during winter.

A programme for Government that prioritises older people

The Commissioner will continue to advise the Northern Ireland Executive, leaders, MLAs, and officials on the need for a specific older people’s outcome in the PfG and seek commitment for the inclusion of specific objectives targeted at improving the lives of older people.


Loneliness and isolation

  • Advise government on the need for the development of a loneliness and isolation strategy for Northern Ireland.
  • Actively participate in All Party Group meetings on loneliness and social isolation to bring forward positive change.
  • Support the Northern Ireland ‘Campaign to End Loneliness’.
  • Actively participate in the North South Loneliness and Ageing Group. 
  • Promote and support groups and organisations that help increase social inclusion of older people.
  • Welcome and endorse programmes that help older people with digital / IT literacy to better connect with friends and family.

Crime against older people

  • Fully participate in the Scamwise partnership, enable the sharing of information through all of COPNI’s communications channels to raise awareness among older people on how to identify and protect themselves from scams. 
  • Work with partners in the criminal justice system, as well as offenders, to increase understanding the deliberate targeting of older people. 
  • Provide advice to government and to older people that will strengthen prevention of crime against older people.
  • Work with criminal justice agencies, to ensure the recommendations in COPNI’s Crime and Justice: The Experience of Older People in Northern Ireland Commissioner’s report 2019; are embedded in their investigatory work. 
Over my term I will be focusing on how we can create a society which respects, values and protects older people.
Eddie Lynch, Commissioner for Older People Northern Ireland