Speeches

Speech for Minister Brady at the Opening of the ‘Golden Years Festival’, Castlecourt Hotel, Mayo

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted to be here this evening to open the second Golden Years Festival. I would like to congratulate Joe and Ann Corcoran, owners of this resort, for organising this innovative and stimulating event.

National Positive Ageing Strategy

As Minister for Older People, I welcome any initiative that raises the profile and enjoyment of older people in our communities. In my capacity as Minister, I have responsibility for a wide range of policies and services relating to older people, including progressing the National Positive Ageing Strategy. This important new Strategy will set the overall direction for future policies, programmes and services for older people. My goal is to develop a meaningful and innovative strategy that will result in real improvements in the lives of older people

In June of last year, I asked for submissions on the Positive Ageing Strategy. The fact that we received over 180 submissions from a broad range of organisations and individuals nationally reflects the scope for further, and realistic, improvements in older people services. I will shortly begin a series of face-to-face meetings around the country to hear at first hand the views of older people on issues that affect them. The first meeting will take place in Cork on 4 March where the theme is “Challenging Ageism to Create an Age Friendly Society”. I also plan to hold meetings in Sligo and Galway. If you are interested in attending, my office can provide further details about these events.

The Golden Years Festival

The itinerary for the Golden Years Festival is an exciting and interesting mix of activities that will have something for everyone. It ranges, for example, from painting, bridge, and ballroom dancing, to cookery demonstrations and aqua aerobics.

The Festival will promote the beautiful surrounding countryside of Mayo through day trips to a variety of well known locations such as Kylemore Abbey, Louisburgh, the Delphi Valley, and Achill Island. The high-quality organic produce or crafts available at Country Markets or shops locally is also being emphasised.

Simon Cowell and X Factor would definitely get a run for their money as contestants battle it out on the final night, for the winner of the ‘Gold Factor’. You never know our very own Susan Boyle could be discovered here in Mayo!

I would urge people to fully avail of the opportunity the Festival provides to relax in luxurious surroundings, to meet new friends, and to broaden their horizons. As we age and our responsibilities change, it leaves us more time to pursue old passions or discover new interests. Staying active and engaged with our communities is vital as we grow older. It keeps us healthy and allows us to share valuable knowledge and skills with others. Irish society obviously owes a great deal to older people, who have helped build this country, and continue to contribute to so many aspects of Irish life.

Conclusion.

In conclusion, I wish you all a very enjoyable and successful next few days, and it therefore gives me great pleasure to declare the Festival officially open.