#RealityCheck: There was no direct mention of the issues that affect the elderly in any of the debates

Some of the same issues were covered but very few of them revolved around the elderly

In the upcoming General Election, some 485,000 of our senior citizens will cast their vote.

The reality is that the age group with the greatest propensity to vote is the cohort of those aged 65+. Research has shown that 78% of this age group use their vote - contrasting sharply with the 18-24 sector were only 43% make the trip to the polling station.

That's a big number. And yet, over the course of three debates, there was not one mention of the issues that affect the elderly over the course of the debates.

Following the RTE Leaders' Debate, ALONE, the charity that works with vulnerable older people, expressed their disappointment that there was little mention of the 600,000 older people.

CEO of ALONE, Sean Moynihan said, “There was no mention, no vision, no plans given for the 600,000 voters over the age of 65 years of age. That is 100,000 extra since the last election. It is as if they were invisible.”

He continued, “We are asking the public to consider the needs of older people a priority when making their decisions on Election Day. Prioritising the needs of our older people is something that everyone should take an interest in as inevitably we all grow older and the decisions we make now will impact us later. We urge the public to vote for candidates with strong policies on ageing and older people. After all a vote for older people is a vote for your future.”

#RealityCheck

At the beginning of this month, Newstalk did a Reality Check on the power of the grey vote. Their 485,000 votes, which are some 22% of the total likely turnout, could well determine the formation of the next Government especially as they will be decisive in constituencies where there is a relatively high percentage of over 65s.

They are affected by issues like state pension, prescription charges, fear of crime (which has been covered to a large extent during the campaign, despite the closure of garda stations around the country), the Fair Deal scheme and broadband. However, we know these have been problematic areas for the government.

However, throughout the campaign, they have been largely ignored. Newstalk's analyst Odran Flynn stated:

"While this grouping incorporates independents of various hues it does lean significantly to the Left as do the majority of the smaller parties. Given that this equates to some 97,000 votes it could have a distinct influence on a number of constituencies, either with first preferences or subsequent transfers.

"One thing is certain; that any party or candidate who ignores the views of our senior citizens is risking the possibility of ending up in the loser’s column."

We featured the issue further in our Humans of the Election post:

 

"I live in social housing. I live alone, but I happen to be involved in a lot of local community activities, like a...

Posted by Newstalk 106-108 fm on Friday, 19 February 2016

Sue Murphy & Odran Flynn

Live from @ElectionNT