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Briefing Papers

Part of the remit of Age Action is to advocate Government and other bodies on behalf of older people. We have grown to become the leading advocacy organisation for older people - we are the “voice” of older people.

Our current Strategic Plan (pdf) identifies four key goals. Goal 1 is that through our advocacy work we will effect positive changes in legislation, policies and services that affect ageing and older people.

As part of that strategy we have committed to publishing a series of Briefing Papers on a range of subjects. Our first two Briefing Papers - respectively on the issues of mandatory retirement and the need for a convention on the rights of older people - were published in late 2016.  You can read or download these Briefing Papers in PDF format via the links below.

Briefing Paper on Supporting Digital Literacy Among Older People (March 2018)

Supporting Digital Literacy Among Older People

The majority of older people have never been online and digital literacy rates among older people in Ireland lag far behind our EU neighbours. A generation of older people is in danger of being left behind in an increasingly online society, cut off from all of the opportunities and benefits of being able to use the internet.

Briefing Paper on Regulating Nursing Home Charges (July 2017)

Briefing Paper 4 - Regulating Nursing Home Charges

Older people and their families are prevented from choosing nursing homes under the Fair Deal scheme because of additional charges imposed by nursing homes. Many families are hard-pressed to meet the cost of these charges on top of their contributions under the scheme.

Briefing Paper on Reversing the 2012 State Pension Cuts (February 2017)

More than 36,000 pensioners had their pensions cut because of changes to the State Pension introduced in 2012. Many of these retired workers have lost thousands of euro and women pensioners have lost the most - punished for leaving the workforce to care for their families.

Briefing Paper on the Need for a Convention on the Rights of Older People (November 2016)

Age Action Briefing Paper on the Need for a Convention on the Rights of Older People (2016)

In Ireland today, in Europe and globally the rights of older persons are not effectively protected. International human rights law has little to say on issues particular to older people such as elder abuse or support in long-term care. Age Action is part of growing international support for a new international convention on the rights of older people that would address this.

Briefing Paper on Abolishing Mandatory Retirement (October 2016)

Age Action Briefing Paper on Mandatory Retirement in Ireland (2016)

Every year in Ireland older workers are forced out of their job for no other reason than they turn 65. This is possible because Irish law permits employers to impose mandatory retirement ages in their employee’s contracts, in effect, facilitating ageism and creating a set of second-class employment rights for older workers.

Progress on efforts to implement a human-rights based approach to health and social care

Age Action welcomes today’s publication of the ‘Guidance on a Human Rights-based Approach in Health and Social Care Services’ published today by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) in conjunction with Safeguarding Ireland.

Age Action supports a rights-based approach which empowers people to know and claim their rights. If people know and claim their rights in how they decide what health and social care services they wish to receive, this will in turn impact the quality of health and social care services as providers will be held to account to higher standards of person-centred care.

In addition to existing HIQA standards, today’s publication is a welcome resource to assist both service users and staff and organisations working with adults across health and social care services to understand how human rights principles apply in health and social care services on a day-to-day basis.

We are pleased to see that the publication includes discussion on the complex situations that occur in practice where many factors need to be considered, such as balancing an individual’s will and preferences, and – at times – competing human rights. We hope to see a better understanding across health and social care services of how to uphold human rights, and better guidance for staff in practice in overcoming the challenges that arise when the organisational protocols are seemingly at odds with a rights-based approach e.g. options for transgender people in single sex residential units.

Age Action remains disappointed that significant legislative and policy gaps continue to exist in the area. While enacted, the new Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015 will not be commenced until Q4 2020. Key elements which should be fast-tracked for commencement include: Arrangements for the making of Enduring Powers of Attorney; a legal framework for Advance Healthcare Directives. In addition, related legislation on the deprivation of liberty - which will provide safeguards for people living in or going to live in residential settings – has also seen delays in its progress into law.

An Adult Safeguarding Bill has been in development since 2017 to replace or cover out of date or non-existent legislation in the area. When underpinned by a regulatory framework for adult safeguarding, this will provide for the protection of at risk adults and statutory powers to ensure adherence.

The expedition of these legislative and resulting policy changes will ensure that rights, freedoms and dignity of people are promoted and protected.

ENDS