How will Ireland deal with its ageing population?

The Citizens’ Assembly is to hear from older people in care

How will Ireland deal with its ageing population?

An old man with a walking stick in Dublin in 2015 | Image:

The Citizens’ Assembly is meeting this weekend to discuss the second topic on its agenda.

It is considering ‘How we best respond to the challenges and opportunities of an ageing population’.

This will be the first of two meetings, following a recommendation by the chair of the group - Ms Justice Mary Laffoy - that an additional weekend would be needed.

This weekend will focus on long-term care and facilitating independent living in Ireland.

It will also hear from elderly people living independently or in long-term care.

The session will feature experts from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), medical specialists and those from the Health Service Executive (HSE).

The remainder of the weekend will be given over to development of the programme for the following weekend.

Citizens' Assembly Chairperson Ms Justice Mary Laffoy in the Grand Hotel in Malahide | Image:

Ms Justice Laffoy said: "(This) is an exceptionally broad topic therefore to ensure that the assembly can, as it should, add to debate and to policy discourse in a meaningful way, it was decided that for this first weekend we would focus our attentions on considering long term care and facilitating independent living in Ireland.

"This is the single biggest issue that came through in our submissions and in all our advance consultations it was identified as the area of public policy in need of attention and action.

"This topic also allows us to consider the topic of ageing in a wider sense as so many aspects of a person’s life may be inhibited or enhanced by where and how they are living".

The assembly received 120 submissions on the topic from members of the public and representative groups.

Submissions are available for the public to view here

The Citizens’ Assembly was established to consider some of the most important issues facing Ireland’s future.

It has already considered the issue of the 8th amendment to the Constitution - the right to life of the unborn.

Ultimately, it recommended that the termination of pregnancy without restriction should be lawful.