More than half a million older voters will help decide the make-up of the next government Age Action warned today as the organisation published its 2016 election manifesto. Key priorities include a right to community care, pension reform and a Minister for Older People.
The launch took place in Dublin’s Ashling Hotel ahead of the fourth in a series of election hustings Age Action and Active Retirement Ireland have organised across the country.
Justin Moran, Head of Advocacy and Communications in Age Action, said: “There are more than half a million people over the age of 65 in Ireland. Turnout among older people in 2011 was at 88 per cent, far higher than the national average.
“Across Ireland the votes of older people are going to be critical in electing TDs and deciding the next government. Our message to these older voters is to join the 88 per cent, to speak up, cast your vote and make sure we can’t be ignored.”
A special election section of this website will allow voters to examine the policies of the various political parties and to email the main party leaders in support of Age Action’s manifesto.
At the heart of the organisation’s priorities for the next government is the need to plan for the changes that will take place in Ireland as the number of people over the age of 65 steadily increases.
Justin Moran continued: “Our systems of support and current policies are struggling to cope with the number of older people in Ireland. How will they fare in 2046 when there will be almost 1.5 million people over the age of 65?
“A decent income is essential to enable people to age with dignity but many older people are struggling to get by while worrying whether there will be a State Pension for their children. How will future governments ensure growing old in Ireland does not mean growing poor?
“Our National Positive Ageing Strategy has sat on a shelf for two and a half years without an implementation plan. There is no one coordinating or driving policies to support positive ageing.
“The next government must become the first government to take seriously planning for an ageing population.”
Age Action’s manifesto sets out three effective and achievable proposals for the next government to change the lives of older people in Ireland and everyone who hopes to grow old.
- A Right to Community Care
Immediate investment of €33 million for home help services and a right – in law – to community care to ensure people can stay at home as long as possible.
- A Fair State Pension
Make the State Pension fairer by reversing recent changes that have made it harder to get the full pension and benchmark the pension to ensure it keeps its value in the future.
- A Minister for Older People
Appoint a Cabinet level Minister to drive delivery of the National Positive Ageing Strategy and to ensure that the voice of older people is heard when key decisions are being made.
Justin Moran continued: “Growing numbers of older people in Ireland is a good news story. People are living longer and healthier lives and they are contributing to Irish society, to their families, their employers and their communities.
“But there has been a collective failure to prepare and plan for the changes in Irish society that are coming as our population grows older.
“The next government must think beyond the next five years, past preparing for the next election, and understand its responsibility to today’s older people and to all of us who hope to grow old in Ireland.”