In the Commissioner's first day in office, Eddie Lynch outlined his commitment to tackling financial abuse against older people.

Eddie Lynch said: "I am delighted to have been appointed as the new Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland.

"During my term of office, I will promote awareness of issues which impact on older people and act as a strong advocate on their behalf. Tackling abuse against older people will be one of my priority areas for action.

"The subject of abuse against older people is a very important one. It can take many forms, such as physical, emotional, sexual and financial, as well as through neglect. Abuse causes fear, anxiety and distress to all older people who are at risk or those who have experienced abuse or harm.

"While all forms of abuse can have a significant impact on older people, feedback that I have received from a range of institutions and individuals has indicated that financial abuse is an escalating problem that is too often under reported.

"Financial abuse includes a wide range of actions, such as scams, theft, fraudulent investments and lotteries, withholding pension or benefits or exerting pressure around wills, property or inheritance.

"There is no doubt that financial abuse is a difficult and painful issue for some older people to report, especially when the perpetrator is a relative, friend or carer.

"To date, there has been no region-wide study examining the prevalence of financial abuse against older people. As the new Commissioner for Older People, I am committed to shining a spotlight on this issue and advising older people and government on actions to be taken to tackle this risk. In the years ahead, I will uncover the true extent and scope of financial abuse in our society and work with other organisations to tackle it.

"A clear message will be sent to those who are cruel and unscrupulous enough to prey on older people that their crimes will not be tolerated."

The Commissioner's appointment is for a term of four years. Eddie Lynch previously served as the Chief Executive of Age Sector Platform for eight years.