The Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland, Claire Keatinge says;"Older people contribute hugely to society – working, caring, volunteering and providing childcare, and they participate widely in community and family life. Yet time and time again we hear negative voices saying that older people are a burden on public expenditure. My research has found that over the next 50 years over 60s put much more into society, both in economic and social terms, than they take out to the tune of almost £25 billion.

"All too often, older people are unfairly represented and those in the public eye must avoid using negative stereotypes and take a leadership role in reframing the debate about our ageing society.

"In order for older people to continue to play a positive role within their communities, free public transport for over 60s is vital. It also ensures that they can continue to enjoy a social life, attend medical appointments and do their shopping, with many depending on the scheme as the only means of getting out of the house.

"We are a better and richer society because more of us are living longer and healthier lives than ever before."