Older voter groups pen open letter to general election candidates

The ‘Earn Our Vote’ alliance comprises of Active Retirement Ireland, Age Action, Age and Opportunity, ALONE, Irish Senior Citizens Parliament, Active Ageing Partnership and Third Age Ireland. These groups represent more than half a million people over the age of 65 in Ireland.

Older voter groups pen open letter to general election candidates

In what is likely to be a very close election, where every vote will count, older voters will play a decisive role in the outcome. As a candidate in the 2016 General Election, we ask you to prove that you will represent the needs of older people, by committing to implement three key policies, if elected to Government.

Appoint a Cabinet-level Minister for Older People to implement the National Positive Ageing

Strategy.

Support for older people to remain healthy and engaged within their communities for longer, through interventions and investment in primary care and care in the community.

Secure the income of older people through an increase in the state pension and reversal to cuts to the household benefits package.

Ireland, like most of Europe, has an ageing population. The issues which are being raised by the ‘Earn Our Vote’ campaign are ones which will impact on everyone in society, young and old, in the coming years.

According to the latest census, 532,000 people aged 65 and over were living in Ireland in 2011. Every year this number rises by another 20,000 and is projected to reach 1.4 million in 2046. The number of people aged over 80 is set to nearly quadruple, from 128,000 in 2011 to 470,000 in 2046. As this demographic continues to grow, so too will their influence at the ballot box.

The National Positive Ageing Strategy, drafted in consultation with older people, is the comprehensive blueprint for a more age-friendly society in Ireland.

It offers a positive view of ageing and does not limit its remit to health issues, but rather looks at how to improve quality of life, promote independent living and deliver greater opportunities for older people. The strategy exists but we need the leadership of a cabinet-level minister to implement it.

The next Government will decide how Ireland’s economic recovery will shape our society. Ireland’s older citizens must see the cuts they suffered during the economic downturn reversed.

Now is the chance for you to make a commitment to older people and Earn Our Vote.

We look forward to hearing from you with your pledge of support. Further information is available on earnourvote.ie.

The Earn Our Vote Alliance

Maureen Kavanagh,

CEO, Active Retirement Ireland

Eamon Timmins

CEO, Age Action

Áine Brady

CEO, Third Age

Maurice O’Connell

Co–ordinator, Active Ageing Partnership

Sean Moynihan

CEO, ALONE

Mairead Hayes

CEO, Irish Senior Citizens Parliament

Karen Smyth

CEO, Age and Opportunity

Marino Institute of Education

Dublin 9

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