Ministers welcome 2nd EU Day of Intergenerational Solidarity
Barry Andrews TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and Áine Brady TD, Minister for Older People and Health Promotion have welcomed the second European Day of Solidarity between generations.
Minister Brady said “the EU day of Intergenerational Solidarity gives us a chance to mark the continuing enormous contribution of older people to life in Ireland, to their families, to economic and social development and to public life.” She said that “older people are too often presented as frail and dependent whereas this is far from the reality and people and their families know it. Older persons have important qualities such as experience, knowledge, sound judgement, common sense, and moderation that are essential to society. The expected increase in the numbers of older people in the population should be seen as an opportunity, not a difficulty” the Minister said.
She said that “the Day of Intergenerational Solidarity presents a perfect opportunity to reflect on the ‘age-friendliness’ of particular services – such as transport, housing, health, education and training – and how information is presented. We should think now about how easy it will be to use these in the years ahead” she said. The Minister is having a series of Consultation Meetings as part of preparing a Positive Ageing Strategy. “People are emphasising the need to begin planning ahead for later years at an earlier age than they do at the moment” she said. “I am hearing many examples of older and younger people helping each other through intergenerational projects; for example younger people show older people how to use computers, and they visit nursing homes. The fact is when there is a shared interest age doesn’t matter” the Minister said.
Minister Andrews meanwhile drew attention to the significant progress that has been made in Ireland in promoting the right of children and young people to have a say on matters that affect their lives. Minister Andrews pointed out that “Goal One of the National Children’s Strategy committed the Government to ensuring the voice of the child is heard by adults in the design, delivery and monitoring of services and policies that affect their lives, at national and local level. This has resulted in the establishment of Dail na nÓg (national youth parliament), Comhairle na nÓg (local youth council), Student Councils and my own Office’s Children and Young People’s Forum.” He said that “together these structures ensure that we, as adults within public institutions and society generally, can actively seek out the views of children and young people and work with them to find solutions to the challenges they face.”
Minister Andrews also said that during his time as Minister he has personally worked directly with young people in bringing forward practical and real-life solutions to issues identified as important by young people themselves in areas such as Mental Health, Homophobic Bullying, Transport Fares and Sex Education. He went on to say that “intergenerational solidarity has the potential to be a very positive force combining young people’s energy, dynamism and creativity with adults experience and knowledge to better understand and address both local and national issues.”