Newmarket has oldest average in a rapidly ageing North Cork
CSO figures show North Cork region, in many instances, far outstripping national average
Duhallow holds a reputation for having the highest ageing elderly population in the country but now it equally has the highest average age trend which increased well above the national average.
Figures from the CSO (Central Statistics Office) last week show that villages and towns in North Cork are ageing at a fast rate, with towns and villages such as Newmarket and Boherbue now having an average ageing population in their mid 40s - with Newmarket having an average age of 44.3 years old in 2016, which is above the national average of 37.4 years. In 2011, in Newmarket the average age was 42.9.
The CSO shows that in 2011 the average age in Boherbue stood at 41.6 years but with an increase to 43.4 by 2016. There has been increases in the average age throughout the Duhallow region.
In Rockchapel in 2011, it stood at 42.0 but in 2016 it was 42.1; Kiskeam in 2011 was 39.7 but it too jumped to 40.3 in 2016. Cullen in 2011 was 38.9 but in 2016 it was 40.2. Meelin in 2011 was 40.9 but in 2016 there was a slight drop to 40.8. Banteer had an average age in the 2011 census of 37.3 but in 2016 this jumped to 38.8.
It is showing that either there has been somewhat of an exodus of young people from the region over the last five years which drove up the average age, or it is perhaps less people settling down in the region they grew up in - or both.
In Kilbrin, in 2011 the average age was 34.3 but in 2016 it stood at 38. In Kanturk, the average age in 2011 was 39 but in 2016 39.6.
However, it must be noted that the only region which seems to buck the national ageing trend is rural Mallow - which has seen its age profile decrease from an already young 33.7 years old in the 2011 census to an even younger 33.6 years in 2016.
Mallow South Urban had an average age in 2011 of 41.5, compared to 42.8 in the 2016 figures. Mallow North Urban had an average age of 35 in 2011 compared to 35.8 in 2016. But in 'Mallow Rural' it was 33.7 in 2011 and in 2016 it was 33.6.
In Macroom, the average age in 2011 was 36.6 but in 2016 it stood at 37.7. In Blarney in 2011, it stood at 35.2 and in 2016 it stood at 36.9. Charleville in 2011 had an average age of 37.4 in 2011 and 37.8 in 2016.
Rural communities with older age groups at risk due to poor health service
Cork North West TD, Michael Moynihan has said that if health services in rural Ireland don't improve, there will continue to be a migration of people from rural villages to larger towns and cities.
His comments came as the SCO released statistics showing that many rural parts of Cork have a higher thatn average ageing population, requiring more healthcare in areas where service provision isrelatively low.
Deputy Moynihan has said that despite announcements about new programs and increases in funding, the reality on the ground is as dire as ever.
"Lately, we have seen countless cases in the media of older people and people with disabilities struggling to access the services they need to maintain a fair quality of life.
"There seems to be an assumption within Government, and in particular, within the HSE, that if hours are budgeted for, then services will be delivered in a fair manner.
"It's clear from what's appearing in the media, and what comes in my constituency office on a daily basis that there are too many families struggling to care for their loved ones."
He also said that parents of children with disabilities and children with elderly parents ahve become increasingly frustrated at what they perceive to be a lack of understanding of the needs of vulnerable people in rural areas.
"How does the HSE believe it is acceptable to offer older people in their 70's and 80's just 45 minutes home help per week? Where is the support to keep people in their homes?
"The HSE must ensure that people get the services they need, and it shouldn't be dependent on where one lives to access them.
"If the Government is committed to keeping rural Ireland alive and well, it needs to remove the worry that many people have about caring for their loved ones when they are sick," concluded Moynihan.