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Staff

Patrick Connolly - Chief Executive

Paddy Connolly was Chief Executive Officer of Inclusion Ireland since early 2012. Inclusion Ireland is a national disability organisation that advocates for the rights of persons with an intellectual disability.

Prior to this Paddy was CEO of Cairde for 14 years. Cairde advocates for the rights of Black and Minority & Ethnic Communities in Ireland. As part of his work Paddy has developed values-based approaches to equality and Human Rights advocacy and the application of values-based organisation management. He has particular interest and experience in managing organisational change and strengthening NGO capacity to bring about social change. 

Earlier in his career Paddy worked in social care, youth work, community development and he has practiced as a certified family mediator and conflict specialist. Paddy holds a BA in Management and an MA in International Relations. In May of 2018 Paddy was appointed by President Michael D. Higgins as a Commissioner with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. 

 

CAROLINE O'CONNELL - HEAD OF FUNDRAISING

Caroline O'Connell

Having studied Science (TCD) and Journalism (DIT), Caroline then ‘fell into’ fundraising and never looked back.

Since 1999 she has held Senior Management positions with Dublin Simon Community, CARI and Plan International and also worked as a fundraising consultant. 

In addition to fundraising she has co-ordinated internationally recognised and high profile campaigns, conferences and events. 

She has played a key role in the development of many charities and generated tens of millions in fundraising during her career, whilst also gaining a wealth of experience and knowledge of not-for-profit sector management. 

GAIL KENNEDY - HEAD OF RETAIL OPERATIONS

Gail Kennedy

Gail Kennedy joined Age Action in 2016 and within 12 months doubled the size of the organisation’s network of charity stores with new outlets opening in Ballincollig, Co Cork, Terenure, Dublin, and Francis St. Galway and our new 10,000 square foot furniture Showroom in Cherry Orchard industrial estate. Our stores are recognised as the best high-end charity stores in the sector. 

Gail brought more than 20 years retail management experience to Age Action. She worked in the private retail sector in a number of senior management roles in Ireland's leading big-box retailers including Dunnes, Marks & Spencer's and Woodies, Gail combines her enjoyment of working in the charity sector with her business management skills. Gail has a vast portfolio of expertise in retail buying, selling, merchandising, store development & design, compliance and senior business management. 

Gail holds an honours degree from the National College of Art and Design along with a number of business qualifications. 

JENNIFER GLANSFORD - NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT MANAGER GETTING STARTED

Jennifer started out with Age Action in 2011 as a volunteer administrator and later that year, was appointed as a Project Officer for the Getting Started Programme and developed the programme in the South Leinster and Dublin areas.

In October 2016, she became the National Development Manager of the Getting Started Programme and has continued to promote and grow the programme nationwide, working with a team of six Regional Project Officers.

Jennifer has over 20 years of experience working in the community and voluntary sector with her background being in addiction services, training and education development and project management. Her commitment to community development is born from over 30 years volunteering with a variety of organisations. 

BILLY O'KEEFFE - LIFE LONG LEARNING

Billy O'Keefe

Billy O’Keeffe joined Age Action as Programme Manager in October 2016. Billy began his working life as a teacher before moving into the charity sector. With over 25 years’ experience working with Irish charities including SVP and Crosscare, Billy has also been involved in the area of development education, twinning schools in Ireland with schools in South Africa.  

Billy oversees Age Action’s Lifelong Learning, Ageing and Development as well as the U3A programme, and has significant experience working on the frontline with vulnerable groups. 

 

JOHN O MAHONY – NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT MANAGER CARE & REPAIR

John is the Care & Repair National Development Manager and Manager of Age Action South.

He originally qualified in Business and his early career was in retail, sales and banking. He then joined the charity sector, working for eight years in the Fundraising Departments of ISPCC and Threshold before returning to education to study Community Development.

In 2010 John became the first Age Action staff member based in Cork and launched our Care & Repair and Advocacy services there. He has since overseen the opening of a dedicated new office in Cork which facilitates Care & Repair, Getting Started, Advocacy and Fundraising work, supported by a charity shop in Ballincollig.

Under John’s leadership the Care & Repair service has doubled the number of locations in which it is available around the country and tripled the number of services it provides to older people.  

John holds a Master’s Degree in Electronic Business and a Postgraduate Diploma in Community Development.

 

JENNIFER COEN - HEAD OF ADMINISTRATION & HR

Jennifer Coen

Jennifer has been with Age Action for eight years, joining in 2011 as Assistant CE Supervisor having previous worked in the Central Remedial Clinic. She went on to become Officer Manager in 2013 and is now our Head of Administration & HR.

Before joining the organisation she lived abroad and co-owned and ran a successful business in Spain for eight years before returning to Ireland in 2008.

GERARD SCULLY - SENIOR INFORMATION OFFICER

Gerard is with Age Action nearly 23 years, he came in originally on a Community Employment Scheme as a Librarian and Information Officer.  He has a professional qualification in Librarianship and Information provision and a Masters in Anthropology. 

Before Age Action he worked in Focus Point and Pavee Point as a Librarian.  He manages Age Action’s Information Service and continues to enjoy working with and for older people. 

 

CORONA JOYCE - SENIOR POLICY OFFICER

Corona is Senior Policy Officer with Age Action. She is responsible for the development of Age Action’s policy and research programme, ensuring that it is shaped by the lived experience of older people and the views of members.

Before joining Age Action, she worked in policy and programme management roles with the Irish Red Cross, the Economic and Social Research Institute and the United Nations Development Programme.

Age Action is calling for a Digital Allowance to support the Digital Inclusion of Older People and a Study on the Cost of Ageing in Budget 2021

(30 July 2020) 

Age Action, Ireland’s leading advocacy organisation on ageing and older people is calling for Budget 2021 to include a digital allowance in the form of a €2.50 increase to the Telephone Support Allowance and a broadening of the eligibility criteria to support older people to access digital technology.

Paddy Connolly, CEO Age Action said ‘Digital exclusion is a reality for at least 33% of people over the age of 65 with the associated cost being one of the barriers to access for older people. We know that communication costs have increased during COVID-19 as people became more reliant on digital communications as a means of communicating with family, health professionals, arranging essential services and addressing social isolation.  In the context of an increasing reliance on telehealth measures and public health advice, Age Action urges the Government to increase the Telephone Support Allowance, introduced in June 2018 at a weekly rate of €2.50, to €5 and for a broadening of the eligibility criteria which is narrowly confined to those getting the Living Alone Allowance who are also eligible for the Fuel Allowance.’

Government services now actively prefer transactions to be digital under a “Digital First”approach, encouraging people to carry out their tax returns, and apply to r enew their driving licences and passports online. The Public Service ICT Strategy prioritises the digitisation of ‘the main existing citizen and business transactional services across Public Services’. There is an increasing reliance on digital channels to provide information by both the public and private sector which undermines people’s ability to access information which was very evident during the height of the pandemic. In a recent CSO survey of households of those over 60 and not online, the second greatest challenge to people who said they needed access to broadband, after lack of digital skills, was the perceived prohibitive cost.

‘Older people are being left behind because they do not have adequate access or skills to engage with digital services or participate in the digital economy; providing a digital allowance as well as investing in one-to-one digital literacy training that meets the needs of older people, is critical to bridging the digital divide. The new National Digital Skills Strategy committed to under the Programme for Government will have budgetary implications; Budget 2021 should begin to support older people to keep up’ Connolly said.