Age Action has called for continued Government investment in computer training for older people as a new Eurostat report, published today, shows older people in Ireland lagging behind their EU counterparts.
The report found that only 37 per cent of Irish people aged 65 to 74 use the internet, compared to 70 per cent in Britain and an average across the EU of 42 per cent.
Irish people are particularly less likely to make online purchases or to get their news online.
Justin Moran, Head of Advocacy and Communications at Age Action, said: “Access to the internet is increasingly necessary for people to get health and welfare information, to use public services or to handle their finances.
“Many older people need support to adapt to the pace of change as more services move online. Today’s figures also don’t include those who are aged 75 and over, where only 3 per cent use the internet.”
Age Action training
Funded through the Government’s BenefIT scheme, Age Action has provided one-to-one training in basic IT skills to more than 26,000 older people since 2006.
Justin Moran continued: “The Government’s National Digital Strategy, published in 2013, set a target of halving the number of “non-liners” by 2016 but it is clear this will not be achieved.
“We need to see more being done to tackle digital exclusion among older people. Funding for the BenefIT scheme needs to be maintained in next month’s budget and greater efforts made to roll out a comprehensive broadband service for rural areas.”