Sunday 17 December 2017

The elderly deserve respect but not special treatment

From the bus pass to free medical care, older people are already very well served in our society, writes Eamon Delaney

LAST week Alone, the organisation for the elderly, urged the incoming Government to honour Enda Kenny's promise to make Ireland "the best place on earth where people could age with dignity" and to set up a special Minister for Older Persons.

Alone is an excellent organisation, set up by the late Willie Bermingham, and it is right to echo the valid, if typically over reaching, ambitions of Kenny. But do we really need a special Minister for Older Persons, and why should the old be treated as a special case, when in fact the very opposite may apply?

It is a pertinent point because during the election, a group called Older and Bolder took out full-page newspaper ads stressing the 'rights' of the elderly, and presenting themselves as some kind of marginalised, needy community in terms of public money. It gave the sense of yet another sectional interest group, looking after itself, as opposed to the overall good of the community, and, unfortunately, it reminded one of the over-75s medical cards fiasco.

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