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Generation Equality - Realising Women's Rights for an Equal Future

Today 8 March is International Women's Day. This year the theme is Generation Equality which focuses on issues facing women across generations. Age Action today launched a briefing paper, Carrying Inequality - How Cumulative Inequality Impacts Older People. 

To understand more about the effects of discrimination and disadvantage across a lifetime, the paper explores current information about a number of the ‘grounds’ of discrimination. We focus on poverty, income, employment, and education as a simple way of introducing the idea of cumulative disadvantage, however this is just a small part of a much more complex picture that includes wider issues such as health, accommodation and transport.

 

COVID-19 Coronavirus - Get Informed

As an organisation working with and for older people, we are mindful that information about COVID-19, from official sources, suggests that older people, particularly people with underlying health conditions, are more vulnerable to the impacts of the virus. We want to ensure that we support older people during this time by;

1.           Ensuring that older people have accurate and timely information about the virus

2.           Playing our part to mitigate the risk of passing the virus to others, particularly older people and other vulnerable members of the population.

Click the image below for the latest HSE Video about COVID-19 (10/03/2020)

Age Action has advised staff and volunteers about the guidelines issued by the HSE and distributed the yellow HSE produced COVID-19 poster through all our sites (click image below for full size version).

We are appealing to people who are online to share the official HSE information with their older family members, friends and clients to make sure that they are informed.

Everyone has a responsibility to follow the official advice from the HSE to try to minimise exposure and potentially passing it on to others.

We need to care for ourselves so we can care for others.

Informing Older People about the COVID-19 Virus

As an organisation working with and for older people, we are mindful that information about COVID-19, from official sources, suggests that older people, particularly people with underlying health conditions, are more vulnerable to the impacts of the virus. We want to ensure that we support older people during this time by;

1.           Ensuring that older people have accurate and timely information about the virus

2.           Playing our part to mitigate the risk of passing the virus to others, particularly older people and other vulnerable members of the population.

Acutely aware that many people, particularly older people do not have access to the internet, we have appealed for a dedicated Helpline for Older People to be established. 

We are also asking people who are online to share the official HSE information with their older family members, friends and clients to make sure that they are informed.

 

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

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. 

Pension Inequality Firmly on the Election 2020 Campaign Agenda

Age Action joined the SIPTU led coalition of non-governmental organisations for the launch of the STOP67 campaign in Dublin today (Thursday, 23rd January) which aims to halt the increase of the state pension age for workers to 67 from next year in order to address inequalities in the pension system.

Speaking at the formal campaign launch in the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland in Kildare Street, Dublin, SIPTU Deputy General Secretary, Ethel Buckley, said: “STOP67 is the SIPTU campaign to stop the increase of the state pension age to 67 on 1st January, 2021.

“SIPTU representatives are not surprised this is a major general election issue. We have been hearing from our members since the abolition of the transitional pension scheme in 2014 about the difficulties that the retirement gap has been causing for workers. This includes the absolute indignity of people coming up to 65 years of age who are expecting to get their pension and having to sign on the dole.”

National Women’s Council of Ireland Director, Orla O’Connor, said: “This is a core issue for women. Women rely on the state pension for the vast majority of their income in older age. So, anything that impacts on state pensions disproportionally impacts on women.”

Age Action Chief Executive, Paddy Connolly, said: “This campaign is not only about stopping the rise of the pension age to 67 but also the creation of a stakeholder forum which will consider issues such as finances, age discrimination and others that effect people in their retirement.”

Active Retirement Ireland chief executive, Maureen Kavanagh, said: “Ireland has the youngest population but the highest prospective retirement age in the EU. We are not under the demographic pressure of other countries. Retirement is a great part of life but it has to be voluntary, flexible and appropriate. We can’t force people out of a job that they love, or to stay in their job.”

SIPTU General Secretary, Joe Cunningham, called on Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to make clear their position on the pensions issue.

He added: “All the other political parties are supporting the ‘STOP67’ campaign. The big two parties must make their position clear.”

Age Action & Active Retirement Ireland call people to vote for reform, not promises!

Put Older People at the Heart of the Next Government

 

Age Action and Active Retirement Ireland today launched their General Election 2020 manifesto.

The two leading organisations representing older people in Ireland are critical of pre-election promises that do not represent real change for older people and a fairer society for us all as we age.

Maureen Kavanagh, CEO of Active Retirement Ireland said, ‘The priority issues for the next government; health, housing, climate change and social welfare reform affect us all, including older people. We want people to vote for the political parties who are committed to ensuring the voice of older people is heard. Our members nationwide are demanding a voice at the table. A senior Minister for Older People is their number one demand.’

She continued, ‘our members want a Government that is committed to delivering an older person’s strategy across all Government departments. They want a Government that can demonstrate it is listening to their voice.’

Paddy Connolly, CEO of Age Action said, ‘the current debate on pension reform and the sudden about face of TDs in Government and political parties highlights the lack of focus and planning for our ageing population. Real pension reform would benchmark and index the pension in line with international good practice in tandem with leading the way to abolish discriminatory work practices including mandatory retirement clauses. A Government that is concerned for older people would ensure free travel is protected and rural transport is developed so that older people don’t become isolated.”

A key issue for members of both organisations is pension reform. Age Action and Active Retirement Ireland want the next Government not to introduce the planned increase in the pension age to 67 in 2021 because of the disjointed and poor approach to planning which is disproportionately impacting on older people.

Paddy Connolly, CEO Age Action said “Despite wide-ranging pension policy changes in recent years across the State pension age, method of calculation, rate and supplementary pensions, Government has provided no information as to how and when these will take effect.  As a result, people planning for - and coming imminently close to - retirement are left unaware of what pension they will qualify for and whether they will have sufficient time to plan for income security once they retire.”

Age Action and Active retirement Ireland have also called for the next Government to prioritise the commitment to introduce a new statutory homecare scheme in 2021, address the current waiting list for home supports and commission research on the cost of ageing to inform Ireland’s policy development that meets the needs of an ageing population.

Age Action and Active Retirement Ireland Priority Asks for General Election 2020

  1. Appoint a senior Minister for Older People

       Addressing the challenges and seizing the opportunities of ageing requires a whole-of-Government approach. Appoint a senior Minister for Older People, within the Department of An Taoiseach, with priority actions of developing a strategy that will respond to the needs of our ageing demographic.

  1. Depoliticise the State pension

       Indexing of current and future pension rates facilitates proper planning, it provides peace of mind for older workers and crucially it depoliticises the budget process. The next Government should benchmark the State Pension to 34% of average weekly earnings and apply a triple lock which guarantees that the basic rate rises each year by a minimum of 2.5%, the rate of inflation or average earnings growth (whichever is the largest).

  1. Suspend the planned increase in the state pension age to 67 in 2021

       In the context of proposed increases to the State pension ages in the near future and the on-going lack of clarity around the new rules, it is simply not fair to raise the State pension age without adequate time for us all to prepare. The increase in the pension age to 68 will mean a cut of nearly 10% in pension income over a person’s lifetime in retirement.

  1. Appoint a Commissioner for Ageing with statutory powers to support their mandate

       Many older people feel left behind in the eyes of policymakers. An independent champion and advisor to government in the form of a Commissioner for Ageing is vital to promote cohesive, efficient, best practice government policy and services for our ageing population.

5.     Take ambitious climate action consistent with climate justice to protect people and the planet

      Climate action policies must be designed in such a way that the people and communities most vulnerable to negative impacts are identified and given voice so that measures are put in place to protect them and to enable them to reap the benefits of climate action.

ENDS

 

Are you a Lucky Raffle Winner?

Thanks to everyone who supported our Winter Warmer Raffle this Christmas!

The Raffle Winners have been drawn and the lucky winners are;

1st Prize: €1,500 - Joann Galvin, Dublin 15

2nd Prize: €1,000 - Esther Purcell, Kilkenny

3rd Prize: €500 - Deirdre Cahalan, Tipperary

Sellers Prize: €100 – Aine Reilly, Cork

If you would like to be included in future Age Action raffles to be in with a chance of winning a prize, please email fundraising@ageaction.ie or call 01 475 6989

To support Age Action’s work this Christmas donate at www.ageaction.ie/donate-now

Give A Christmas Gift that Counts!

No matter what age you are, feeling loved and cared for is important to all of us.

But at Christmas, companionship and support from friends and family means even more than usual – which is why feeling you are forgotten about or invisible is even harsher than at other times.

Older people often feel ignored or invisible and the festive season often exacerbates this sense of loneliness and isolation at a time that is synonymous with family and togetherness.

We work hard all year round to help older people face the different challenges that growing older brings, and with your help we want to make sure that no older person feels invisible, isolated or that they just don’t count.

This Christmas we are asking you to just take a moment to remember the older people in your family or community for whom Christmas might be a more difficult time.

By giving them as little as 5 minutes of your time, you can make a huge difference in brightening an older person’s day this Christmas! 

The design of the new Automatic Enrolment Retirement Savings Scheme is inadequate and fails to address existing inequalities in the State pension system

 

 

Equality for older people requires the re-distribution of resources; power and influence; status and standing; and respect.  Many older people live in the most vulnerable situations in our society with no capacity to increase their income while dealing with the increasing cost of ageing. A new autoenrolment scheme that further drives existing inequalities is simply unacceptable

A Strawman proposal for the new autoenrolment scheme was published in August 2018. A number of substantial concerns were raised at this time regarding the lack of information and clarity around the new scheme. Publication of the revised scheme – with little change from the initial 2018 proposal – in October 2019 saw little additional information made available on a range of crucial areas.

Paddy Connolly, Age Action CEO notes: “Efforts to increase pension coverage, while ensuring greater numbers of people are kept above the poverty line and in income adequacy in retirement are welcome. However, details of the new auto-enrolment scheme offer little information on how the new scheme will be implemented across relevant sectors and outside of paid work, and how it will help prevent further inequalities between those in higher and lower earning jobs, according to gender, and for those who are long-term unemployed.”

 

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