Press Release

Minister Brady officially opens the 3rd AONTAS Senior Learners Network Meeting

Áine Brady, T.D., Minister for Older People, today officially opened the 3rd Senior Learners Network Meeting organised by AONTAS.

AONTAS is the National Adult Learning Organisation and was established in 1969 to promote the development of a learning society through the provision of a quality and comprehensive system of adult learning and education accessible to and inclusive of all. AONTAS has over 550 members including statutory adult education providers, community education groups, tutors and learners. It facilitates an excellent support and advisory service for Adult Education providers, students and the general public.

Speaking at the opening of the meeting today (in the Palatine Room, Collins Barracks, Benburb Street), Minister Brady said Being involved in further education helps break down the sense of isolation that older people can often feel. Being actively involved in learning encourages a sense of direction and introduces people to a new community of fellow learners. It is through this involvement that a sense of belonging is fostered, thus opening up new possibilities such as friendships, skills and community involvement”.

She highlighted that “the Government recognises the importance of involving older people in Further Education programmes and has prioritised a major expansion of opportunities in adult and further education. Government expenditure in this sector increased by 60% from €256 million in 2002 to €414 million in 2008. The overall budget provision for 2009 is approximately €420m. We will continue to support Further Education programmes, including those for older people, to encourage an ethos of lifelong learning.” In conclusion the Minister indicated her continued support for the valuable work undertaken by AONTAS.

Read the Minister’s Speech