Age Action’s CEO, Mr Eamon Timmins, has called on the organisation’s members to ensure the needs of older people are firmly on the agenda in the coming general election.
He was speaking today to hundreds of Age Action’s supporters at their Annual General Meeting, which is being held in Croke Park.
Mr Timmins said: “The cuts imposed in successive austerity budgets have cost many older people almost €14 a week. Energy and medical prices have continued to rise, putting greater pressure on older people’s limited incomes.
“Older people spent a lifetime building this country. They shouldered their share of the austerity burden. As the economy returns to growth, they have a legitimate expectation that the sacrifices they made will be acknowledged.
“One of the few political certainties is that there will be a general election within the next 12 months. I would urge you to question those who come seeking your vote, to test them and to judge them on whether they will hold to their commitments to older people.
Questions for candidates
“Will they be a friend to older people in the next Dáil? Will they campaign for an increase in the State Pension, which has stagnated since 2009?
“Will they push the new government to implement the National Positive Ageing Strategy, to put in place the supports that will enable older people to live at home instead of being held in the limbo of acute hospital wards?
“Ireland can be the best country in the world in which to grow old, but only if we ensure that the needs of older people, and their families, are at the forefront of the mind of anyone seeking election next year.”
Also speaking at today’s AGM was Ms Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner at the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.
Ms Logan said that she shared many of Age Action’s concerns around the serious challenges faced by older people.
She particularly highlighted discrimination in access to employment and the need for meaningful protection from elder abuse. She also said older people should be empowered to live in their own homes through quality, well-resourced, community care that evolves to meet their needs as they grow older.
Highlighting the positive contribution older people make to wider society Ms Logan continued: “It is important to celebrate the invaluable contribution that older people are making to society, in terms caring for younger siblings, volunteering and sharing their huge expertise, as well as their active contribution to the economy and to supporting families during the recession.”
Age Action’s Annual Report for 2014 also revealed that the charity now has more than 4,300 volunteers. Last year they provided one-to-one computer training to almost 3,300 older people, carried out almost 25,000 DIY jobs and befriending visits across Ireland and organised 400 events in 28 counties to celebrate Positive Ageing Week.
For more information contact Justin Moran, Head of Advocacy and Communication at Age Action, on 087 968 2449.