111-year-old ‘super-centenarian’ oldest person to get Áras medal

Record 423 centenarians receive over €1m from President to mark 100th birthday

Áras an Uachtarain issues a letter and special commemorative coin from the President to every Irish person aged 101 and older

Áras an Uachtarain issues a letter and special commemorative coin from the President to every Irish person aged 101 and older

Sat, Jan 4, 2014, 01:00

The oldest person to receive a letter and medal from President Michael D Higgins last year was aged 111 and living in the US, according to Áras an Uachtaráin

The Áras issues a letter and special commemorative coin from the President to every Irish person aged 101 and older.

The Áras was not able to provide any further information about the individual. However, data compiled by the Gerontology Research Group lists 111-year-old Kathleen Snavely, a resident of Syracuse, New York, as the oldest verified person of Irish birth on its records as of December 15th, 2013.

On that date, she was also the group’s only listed Irish “super-centenarian”, a title reserved for people verified as being 110 years of age or older.

In 2000 Ms Snavely is recorded as donating $1 million to the Syracuse University school of management in memory of her first husband Roxie Rollins.

An article marking the donation on the university website states Ms Snavely was born in Co Clare and worked as a business apprentice in Dublin before moving to America in 1921, where she met and married her first husband. She later married the late Jesse Snavely Jr.

Centenarian bounty

According to the Gerontology Research Group, the oldest Irish person on record was Katherine Plunkett who lived for 111 years and 327 days. She died in 1932.

Last year marked the highest amount ever paid out under the centenarian bounty, an award made by the Irish President to people on the occasion of their 100th birthday. A record 423 people received the centenarian bounty of €2,540 to mark their 100th birthdays last year. The centenarians shared €1,044,810, making it the single largest amount paid since it was first awarded in 1940.

Back then the award for those reaching their 100th birthday stood at £5. The payment was increased to €2,540 in 2000. In 2006, the award was extended to Irish citizens living abroad.

Almost 60 per cent of those who received the award last year, 247, were resident in Ireland while just under a quarter, or 98, were resident in Northern Ireland.

A further 11 per cent, 48 people, were resident in the UK. About 85 per cent of those who receive the award each year are female.

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