An alliance of Ireland’s older persons’ charities and advocacy groups has come together to make sure the voices of older voters are heard in the forthcoming general election. The ‘Earn Our Vote’ alliance is made up of active Retirement Ireland, Age Action, Age & Opportunity, ALONE, Irish Senior Citizens Parliament, Active Aging Partnership and Third Age Ireland.
The campaign is challenging election candidates to earn the votes of Ireland’s half a million older people. Candidates need to prove they represent our needs to get our vote. The campaign is looking for candidates to pledge their support to three key policies.
1) Appointing a cabinet-level Minister for older people to implement the National Positive Aging Strategy.
2) Making a commitment to support older people to remain healthy and engaged with their communities for longer through interventions and investment in primary care and care in the community.
3) Increasing the State pension and reversing cuts to the Household Benefits Package.
The National Positive Ageing Strategy was created in partnership with older people. It is the blueprint for an age-friendly society, where people can grow older in the knowledge that they can live independent lives and play a full role in their community.
It also seeks to ensure that support nd services will be available where older people need them. The problem is there is no one sitting at the Cabinet table to implement it.
The economic downturn affected older people in different ways. Those fortunate enough to have savings have seen them eroded.
Many older people contribute significantly to the community on a voluntary basis, and their contribution needs to be recognised and supported.
Although ageing can often be seen as a challenge, most older people aspire to live long, happy and healthy lives. Ireland’s population is getting older. At the moment there are half a million people over 65 - that’s a lot of votes. This number rises by 20,000 every year. The ‘grey vote’ should not be underestimated. In this general election - actions speak louder than words.
As older people, we must ask candidates to ‘Earn Our Vote’ So ask politicians on the doorstep where they stand on the issue.