Belfast Telegraph

McAleese pays tribute to elderly

Ireland's ageing population has been celebrated as President Mary McAleese paid tribute to a generation who lived through recessions and depressions.

The President commended the country's older generation who survived tough and turbulent times and are now the backbone of childcare, elder care and voluntary organisations.

She marked Age Action's positive ageing week at a photography exhibition capturing the adventurous and fun side of older people.

Images depicting Generations Together include a snap of 69-year-old Paula Dunne getting pushed on a swing by grandchildren, Ali and Caleb Wayne, and a portrait of 89-year-old Bridget Stanley with great granddaughter Lucy Waine, aged two.

"Isn't it a wonderful thing the country is hopping and buzzing with the energy of our senior citizens teaching us a thing or two," she said.

"The evidence is mounting rapidly that the Positive Ageing movement has over the past two decades turned the tide of thinking about ageing and how we actually experience ageing. Thanks to your determination, ageing is no longer seen as an endgame but as an opportunity for new challenges and new beginnings."

The display, in ESB's House 29, the Georgian museum, Fitzwilliam Street Lower, Dublin, is part of more than 800 events nationwide.

Age Action chief executive Robin Webster said Ireland's older population was a huge, but sometimes over-looked, resource which could help society during the current economic crisis.

"Older people are a huge resource for Irish society, which to date has been relatively untapped or not acknowledged," said Mr Webster.

"They are active volunteers, experienced workers, caring parents and grandparents, and citizens who have lived through several recessions. The lessons they have learnt from these experiences are more valuable now than ever."

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