The Older People’s Councils provide a means by which older adults can take a more active role in their communities and have their voices heard.
Older People’s Councils have been established in response to the National Positive Ageing Strategy (2013) in each programme area as a means by which older people can raise issues of importance, identify priority areas of need and inform the decision-making process of the city or county Age Friendly initiative.
Older People’s Council representatives sit on the Age Friendly Alliances not as protagonists or lobbyists, but as equal partners with CEO’s and decision makers of statutory agencies such as the local authority, the HSE and other bodies.
Enabling the direct and active involvement of older people in local decision making has been an important value or principle which has underpinned the work of many of the city and county programmes to date. In areas where it has worked well programme leaders have recognised older people as powerful agents of change.
This group comprises the Chairperson from each of the established Older Peoples Councils across the 31 Age Friendly Programme areas. This group meets a minimum of twice yearly and convenes at the annual national two-day Convention of Older Peoples Councils. Older Peoples Councils play a central role at local level in informing the development and implementation of local Age Friendly Strategies. The national network was established to ensure that the collective voice of all OPC’s could be heard so that a representative voice of older people from across all of Ireland spanning various diversities was present.
The core functions of the National Network of Older People’s Councils are:
- To surface up, prioritise and communicate national issues relating to policy or practice which go beyond the city and county boundaries and the ability to respond locally.
- To support and inform the ongoing growth and development of Older People’s Council’s nationally in pursuit of the agreed goal for Older People’s Council’s to be increasingly reflective of diverse local populations. This network will reflect the national collective voice of all older people’s councils across the National Age Friendly Cities & Counties Programme in Ireland and will provide a fundamental element of the overall programme structure and framework
- To provide a platform for skill sharing and the transfer of knowledge across the age friendly network and, in particular, to support the fast tracking of newly formed Older People’s Councils.
- To support the exchange of good age friendly practices and models of excellence that can be replicated, either directly or following local customisation, across the network of Age Friendly programme areas.
- To work with the relevant host age friendly programme of the National Older People’s Council Convention to inform the design and prioritisation of themes for the annual Older People’s Council convention. Conventions will be held on an annual basis.
The network has an agreed Terms of Reference and the group is chaired by the current Limerick Older People’s Council Chairperson Mary Cronin. The network meetings are hosted in LGMA House, Dublin.