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Ageing Better campaign calls for Senior Minister for Older People and a joined-up approach to Ireland’s ageing population

Published 04/02/2020


Age Action and Active Retirement Ireland, the country’s leading older people’s organisations with a combined membership of approximately 30,000 people, held a photocall on Monday as part of their ‘Ageing Better’ general election campaign, calling for older people to be placed at the heart of the next government. 

The two organisations are calling on parties with ambition to be in Government to outline how they will ensure an all-of-Government approach to ageing. Criticising the poor level of engagement and awareness on issues of ageing in the election so far, they are asking politicians to seek the older persons vote with concrete commitments.  

Commenting today, CEO of Active Retirement Ireland Maureen Kavanagh, said: “So far the general election debate has not meaningfully addressed the issues affecting older people. It is disappointing politicians have engaged in divisive rhetoric, pitching young people against older people. The unavoidable reality is the next government needs to get serious about providing for Ireland’s ageing population. This ultimately benefits all of society because everyone will want to be treated with dignity and respect and enjoy security as they grow older."


“As part of the Ageing Better campaign, we are calling for a dedicated Minister for Older People to be appointed who can be a strong voice for older people at the cabinet table. In the next 20 years, one in four people in Ireland will be over the age of 65. This highlights the need for the government to act now to ensure the supports and services older people require are properly resourced. As we head into the final week of the election it is critical that candidates take notice of older people and their needs.”


Also commenting today, Paddy Connolly CEO of Age Action, said: “Older people want their voice at the decision-making table. Issues like health, housing, employment and transport are of particular concern for older people. We need politicians and a Government that can demonstrate they are listening to their concerns, and that can deliver a joined-up approach across Government Departments to plan for our ageing population."


“We can do ageing better, by involving people of all ages and at all stages in life. In planning for us all as we age, we can make Ireland a fairer place for older people now and into the future. Older people should reserve their vote for politicians who are committed to listening to them and to delivering in Government" said Paddy Connolly.


The Ageing Better campaign has five main policy asks:

  1. Appoint a senior minister for older people;
  2. Indexing pension rates to 34% of average weekly earnings;
  3. Suspend the planned increase in the state pension age to 67 in 2021;
  4. Appoint a commissioner for ageing with statutory powers to support their mandate; and
  5. Take ambitious climate action consistent with climate justice to protect people and planet.


Call for Voices of Older People to be Heard

Age Action welcomes relaxation of some cocooning measures but criticises lack of consultation with older people.



(1 May) Age Action called for the Government to consult with older people as it plans for the longer-term impacts of Covid-19. To date, public health and Government advice has treated the over 70 age cohort as one. As a single age cohort people over the age of 70 have been subject to public health measures but not enabled to participate in the decision-making process that would ensure that their lived experience and their self-identified needs informs the outcome.