You are here

Ireland must support human rights for older people

Lianne Murphy, Ageing & Development Officer, Age Action
Written by: Lianne Murphy
Ageing and Development Officer, Age Action


This week (14-16 July) UN members states are meeting in New York to discuss the rights of older people.

With numbers of older people rising rapidly globally Age Action is behind a new international convention on the rights of older people.

The Open Ended Working Group on Ageing is the UN process where the need for a new international convention on the rights of older people is being discussed. This is their sixth meeting. The first one took place in 2011.

With numbers of older people rising rapidly both here in Ireland and globally we in Age Action think that a new international convention on the rights of older people is the most effective way to ensure that all people can enjoy their human rights in older age on an equal basis with others.

Currently older people’s rights are invisible in the international human rights system.

While many international human rights instruments, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,  are universal by nature, older people are rarely mentioned specifically, either in the treaties themselves or by the committees who monitor compliance.

In addition only four out of more than 38,000 recommendations in the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review have specifically addressed discrimination against older people.

A new convention could change this.

This week in New York, those governments supporting the convention will outline exactly what they want to see and what rights need to be protected, such as the right to long-term support for independent living and the right to freedom from violence and abuse.

Unfortunately, Ireland is not one of these governments. While they have been broadly supportive of the process and a wider discussion on the rights of older people, they do not support a Convention for older people.

While it is important that Ireland continues to support the UN process, we believe older people in Ireland deserve better from their government.

They deserve a government that takes them seriously and supports a new convention to protect their human rights on a par with others.



I would like to see the support agencies for older persons to take a serious and urgent look at how older people are treated by HSE paid Carer in their home. I am referring specifically with family members who abuse the system. They like to take the financial assistance but do not look after their loved ones in a just manner. If there is supervision,carers know in advance and create a god impression for that day.Also,why does public care services finish at 5pm ,and no service at w/ends?.When are we going to get proper rights for older persons?

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

You might be due a tax refund



Revenue wants to make sure that everyone knows about the tax credits, reliefs and exemptions they are entitled to. Revenue wrote to some people recently telling them that they might be entitled to a tax refund going back as far as 2014.
If you think that you might also be due a tax refund for the year 2014, you need to submit a claim to Revenue before midnight on 31 December 2018. If you don’t want to miss out, submit your claim to Revenue before then.

Age Action Calls for €9 per week Rise In Old Age Pension in Budget 2020

Organisation also proposes that Government commission research on the Cost of Ageing to ensure policy meets needs of ageing population

Age Action, the advocacy organisation for older people, has called for the state’s Old Age Pension to increase by €9 per week in Budget 2020. The call was made at today’s Pre-Budget Forum, which is being organised by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and is being held in Dublin Castle’s Conference Centre.

Celine Clarke, Age Action’s Head of Advocacy and Communications, said that a €9 increase in the weekly Old Age Pension would be a key step in building towards the Government’s own commitment that the pension should be set at 35% of average weekly earnings.

“The National Pensions Framework was published almost 10 years ago and it committed the Government to benchmarking the Old Age Pension at 35% of average weekly earnings. In order to move the current pension payment towards the delivery of that target, we are calling on the Government to increase the weekly pension payment by €9,” Celine Clarke said.

Ms Clarke provided additional context to Age Action’s call for a €9 per week pension rise, when she explained that in 2009, the weekly income for pensioners depending on the State – when all the benefits were added together – was €265.44, this year it’s €273.63 – only €7.89 higher than it was higher than it was 10 years ago. 

“While pensions have increased by a welcome €5 per week over the last few years, there is no clear and transparent formula informing these increases, and Ireland is also unusual in setting the pension rate in the budget every year. Age Action is urging the Government to consider applying a triple lock formula for pension increases – namely, guaranteeing that the basic State pension will rise by a minimum of either 2.5%, the rate of inflation or average earnings growth, whichever is the larger.”

In addition to the proposals on pension increases, Age Action is also calling for:

  • The commissioning of research by Government on the Cost of Ageing to inform the development of policy so that the country can meet the needs of our ageing population – a similar exercise has been carried out in relation to the Cost of Disability;
  • Increase the income threshold for all means-tested benefits in line with increases to the Old Age Pension and secondary benefits;
  • Increase the Living Alone Allowance by €5 per week;
  • Increase the Fuel Allowance rate by €2.35 and reintroduce a 32-week payment period.

Pre-Budget Submission to Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection