Never mind that Commissioner.. here’s another one..

Without a hint of irony, Northern Ireland’s First and deputy First Ministers, accompanied by their juniors, have announced their intention to create the post of a new Northern Ireland Commissioner.. for “Older People”. The official statement notes that the roles and responsibilities of the Commissioner have yet to be decided. Lovely.. Now, any chance that the Victims’ Commissioner will actually be appointed before this one? According to one report on that delayed appointment, “An OFMDFM spokesman said: “We are in the middle of an appointments process and will not be commenting further.” [In the middle of an appointments process? – Ed]

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  • rent

    whats the problem here? I’m unclear, is it the length of the process, the need for the comissioner, or an apparent prioritisation before victms?

  • susan

    Pete, the evolving lotuses in government truly are evolving, despite your cynic — oops, skepticism. The original title for the new post was Commissioner for “Old,” not “Older,” and not “People” but….oh, never mind. ;o)

  • Animus

    Why would you think the two processes are linked? If they haven’t decided on the role and functions, they won’t be looking at an appointment for at least a couple of years. And it is a Commissioner for Older People, not Old.

  • Pete Baker


    Take your pick.


    The finessing of the title does nothing to affect the argument about whether these commissioners provide any other function other than to distract lobbyists away from actual elected representatives in positions of power.


    I don’t. The point is the First Duo were hinting at an announcment on the Victims Commissioner by the end of the year.. after the previous delays.

    The announcement of the start of another Commissioner’s process can be seen as a distraction from that.

    Not sure who your final line is directed at.. That’s the title I’ve used in the original post.

    In amongst this all is, of course, whether the creation of multiple Commissioners actually serves any useful purpose in terms of good governance – according to one report the annual budget for this Commissioner will be £2million.

    At a time when there is a drive to slim down the public sector, and the adminstration, is it wise to create positions – which have been seen as de facto political appointments – designed to be points of contact for lobbyists in particular areas.

    Makes sense for for the politicians involved.

    It’s always easier to deal with someone who understands the politics involved.. rather than any particular special interest group.

    Perhaps we can have a Commissioner for the Opposition?

    And, btw, where is that Bill of Rights?

  • rent


    Can’t agree with you, Older people are one of the most rapidly growing groups in NI, and the Social Services, employers and even society itself are not geared to meet their needs as citizens. The present political system is not geared to look to them or work for them so I for one would welcome the comissioners appointment. As usual our politicans will need all the practical help they can get.

    I think inviting comparisons with the victims commissioner is a little inflammatory and unwarranted. We know the victims commissioner issue and the issue of victims itself will be settled in a politically expedient way, (with neccessary fudges) there is to need to drag the vital issue of Older people into the fray

  • Animus

    The last line was directed at Susan – wasnt’ trying to start an argument with anyone.

    I do think Commissions will eventually be streamlined, but the fact is that older people face high levels of discrimination in several spheres. I don’t see that a Commissioner will mean that policitcians can ignore special interest groups.

    On the Bill of Rights – it took more than a year or even seven to set up a systematic violation of human rights, so it makes sense to take time to get it right. If it were a rush job, people would be complaining that it didn’t give credence to their views. There is just no pleasing some people. And it is easier to snipe than to participate – a pastime Northern Ireland seems to enjoy.

  • Pete Baker


    Never said you had to agree with me.

    “I think inviting comparisons with the victims commissioner is a little inflammatory and unwarranted.”

    Oh, not to worry. It’s just me asking ‘stupid’ questions.. again.

    “We know the victims commissioner issue and the issue of victims itself will be settled in a politically expedient way..”


    “the vital issue of Older people”

    Who will think of the elderly?..

  • rent

    “Never said you had to agree with me.”

    Don’t be churlish in the face of politeness

    “Stupid Questions”

    Ask questions its your job, i was pointing out that they are two separate questions. Mixing in the victims question with that of older people in this case seems to solve nothing and add nothing to the issue of growing age discrimination in our society, that is my only point. The question of older people in an ageing society is important enough (and contraversal enough) to stand on its own two feet.

    “Who will think of the elderly?.. ”

    Don’t know what this is getting at.

  • Newton Emerson

    Northern Ireland Commissioner for Older People = NICOP.

  • Chuckle Vision

    Should the First Minister declare an interest?

  • IJP

    What about a “Commissioner for Working People”?

    Or is that too much of a minority group?