Press Release

Minister Callely opens programme of events for the Bealtaine Festival

Mr. Ivor Callely, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, with special responsibility for services for older people, today, (20 April 2004) welcomed the opportunity to open a programme of events for the Bealtaine Festival at the Irish Film Institute.

The Minister pointed out that Bealtaine is the only arts festival that specifically targets older people and that this year the Festival will include some 560 events country-wide, covering a broad range of artistic endeavours and emphasised the importance of participation of older people in the arts.

“Such participation is both life-enhancing and health promoting, and is crucial to oneĀ“s sense of connectedness with community and wider society” stated the Minister.

Minister Callely praised the work of Age and Opportunity who are responsible for co-ordinating the efforts of a wide range of contributors to the Festival, including the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Irish Film Institute, the National Theatre and Local Authorities, Public Libraries, local Arts Centres, Active Retirement Associations, Senior CitizensĀ“ Clubs, Health Boards,

“Since coming into office, I have set up an Interdepartmental Group on the needs of older people. The question of services for older people had often been seen solely as the domain of the Department of Health, i.e., that older people might not be affected by policies in other areas like education, housing and environment. The Inter-departmental Group, has brought together people with responsibility for a range of areas, to focus on what services are needed for older people and on how older people can be empowered, their contributions harnessed and valued, and their independence enhanced” stated the Minister.

The Minister also stated that he is a firm believer in the contribution that participation in the arts can bring to all of us, as we age, both as individuals and as a society.

The Minister concluded by congratulating all those groups who are involved in Bealtaine is organisers, performers, artists, and audience throughout the entire month and for the rest of the year.