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Kilkenny Older People’s Council Celebrates For the first time in three years

Age Friendly Ireland | Local |

Michael Delahunty, OPC chairperson opening address at the 2022 OPC conference.

Kilkenny Older Peoples Council (OPC) held its conference in the Age Friendly Ormonde Hotel on Tuesday 1st November. Over 170 members and 30 guests attended the celebration of Kilkenny Older Peoples Council contribution to the first decade of the Kilkenny Age Friendly Programme. A special effort was made this year to encourage new members to attend and to ensure a wider representative groups from all geographical areas of the County, It was the first time for many to attend such an event. M.C: Betty Dewberry, former Chair, acted as MC for the day. She provided to the attendee’s informative introductions for all speakers, as well as the event arrangements.

Chairman’s Opening Address

Michael Delahunty, OPC chairperson opening address at the 2022 OPC conference.

All members, especially new members were welcomed by Michael Delahunty, Chairman who recalled that the Age Friendly Programme was launched by Actress Maureen O Hara in 2010. He thanked all those older people-both groups and individuals for their significant contributions, through information and consultations, surveys and audits, listening exercises and facilitated workshops held in the past 10 years, which informed the Programme.

He also highlighted the commissioning of the Kilkenny Age Friendly Business Strategy, volunteering to operate the Senior Helpline, participating in the National Go for Life games, collaborating with An Garda Siochana’s Bogus Caller initiative. He noted that our Library Service have played their part with 2 Age Friendly Libraries to date and a promise of 6 more in 2023 and the ongoing delivery of several initiatives by Health Promotion (HSE). He stated that the Older Peoples Council played a very active part in getting a bus service in Kilkenny City and in participating in the Business Recognition Scheme.

As Chair, he stated he has to look at current issues that needs addressing, including the needs for more age friendly car parking, an extension of the Age Friendly Towns initiative to include Thomastown, Castlecomer, Graiguenamanagh & Ferrybank, strategies to address isolation, broadband & mobile phone signal, rural transport and cost of living issues. There are many community & voluntary services which provide invaluable services to older people which needs to be highlighted and promoted also.

He highlighted the need for the Age Friendly Alliance to focus on its strategic role, that business has a continuous role to play and that the Older Peoples Council has to remain fit for purpose. It must align its terms of reference to those set out in new guidelines, it has to reach out to parts of the County not fully represented and needs to be representative of the diversity of the Counties older people by including in its, membership and Executive Committee people of different backgrounds.

Growth in OPC Membership

He noted that membership had increased by over 100 in the past 6 months and that the OPC should continue to grow its membership. He stated that he had reactivated the issue of regular newsletters to members and the regular Age Friendly New features in the Kilkenny People, both of which were prominent from 2010-2016. Both are issuing weekly at present but will likely to be fortnightly into the future. He expressed confidence that, given the past performance by many implementing partners, the Age Friendly Programme will continue to be successful into the future.

Kilkenny Age Friendly Ambassador

AFI Article No 1 Age Friendly Ambassador

Kilkenny Age Friendly Ambassador-Mr Nickey Brennan outlined his ambassadorial role to those present as supporting the Kilkenny Older Peoples Council and the Kilkenny Age Friendly Alliance by attending events on their behalf and by supporting projects and initiatives. He spoke of his concerns with regards to the difficulties some older people have in accessing GAA matches through the online purchasing of tickets and his ongoing efforts to ensure that all options remain open especially for older people.

He reminded all those present that every person needs to be treated with dignity and respect, especially in the final years and days, as he read a very poignant story about a dying woman’s letter recalling the different aspects of her life, from when she was a young girl, a newly married woman, a mother and a grandmother and that behind every face, young and old is a person with their lifetimes experiences which is to be valued.

Nickey Brennan then went on to read a piece on “Eating in the 60’s” which had been doing the rounds on social media in recent weeks. This drew laughter from those present.

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