3 March 2015

Question Time: Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister Monday 02 March 2015


Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, provided an update on the Older People’s Strategy during today’s Question Time. The purpose of the strategy is to “transform attitudes to and services for older people” adding that “it is important that we fully acknowledge the enormous contribution that older people make to our society and that we challenge the negative stereotyping of older people.” The strategy will provide direction for Departments and lead to the improvement of services for older people. The Department have worked closely with stakeholders and the Commissioner for Older People to develop the strategy which will then go to the OFMDFM Committee before going to the Executive for approval. The Minister also discussed the worryingly high number of crimes against older people saying “this is a huge issue for society. All of us — the Police Service, the voluntary and community sector, local communities and politicians — have to work together to identify what need there is and to see whether we can bring forward solutions.”

During topical questions Brenda Hale asked the deputy First Minister if he will be taking the opportunity to promote investment in Northern Ireland during his upcoming trip to the US for St Patrick’s Day. In recent years the First Minister and deputy First Minister have been very successful in attracting US investment “even against the backdrop of a very cruel world economic recession”. In light of the recent Stormont House agreement he expects this trend to continue and he intends to “make it absolutely clear to everybody that we are open for business.” Mr McGuinness is also confident that the proposed devolution of corporation tax will play an important role in encouraging more direct foreign investment in Northern Ireland and the increased creation of job opportunities.

During Question Time the deputy First Minister also answered questions on the Social Investment Fund, Together: Building a United Community, Shackleton Barracks and the proposed reduction in the number of MLAs.