Citizens’ Assembly to meet next month to consider Ireland’s ageing population

Two weekends in June and July will be devoted to topic to give it due consideration

Ms Justice Mary Laffoy said Ireland’s ageing population brings implications for policy, service delivery, and long-term planning in diverse areas such as health, long-term care, independence, participation, and inclusion. Photograph: Alan Betson

Ms Justice Mary Laffoy said Ireland’s ageing population brings implications for policy, service delivery, and long-term planning in diverse areas such as health, long-term care, independence, participation, and inclusion. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

The Citizens’ Assembly, which surprised many people by taking a liberal line on abortion, will meet next to consider how Ireland should respond to the challenges and opportunities of an ageing population.

The 99 members of the assembly have agreed to devote two weekends to that challenge. The weekend meetings will be on June 10th and 11th and on July 8th and 9th.

This follows a recommendation by the assembly chair Ms Justice Mary Laffoy that an additional weekend will be required to allow full consideration of the topic. The public have until Friday (May 19th) to make submissions to the assembly on the issue.

Following consideration of the topic, the conclusions and recommendations of the assembly members will form the basis of a report submitted to the Houses of the Oireachtas for further debate.

The number of people over the age of 65 in Ireland now constitutes 12 per cent of the population. This is set to rise to 1.4 million or 22 per cent of the population by 2041.

The number of those over the age of 80 is set to increase from 130,600 to 458,000 in the same time period, a two and a half fold increase.

Ms Justice Laffoy said Ireland’s ageing population brings “implications for policy, service delivery, and long-term planning in diverse areas such as health, long-term care, independence, participation, and inclusion.

“As the Secretariat and I began to develop the work programme for the June weekend meeting we concluded that an additional weekend would be necessary to give this topic due consideration. I am confident that this will be to the absolute benefit of the members and ultimately to the quality of the recommendations they will be asked to make.

“Once more I will commend the work ethic of the Assembly members who give their time freely in the service of deliberative democracy.”

The Assembly met for five weekends on the topic of the Eighth Amendment. The assembly voted by almost two to one to recommend that abortion on demand be available. Participants voted by a margin of more than six to one that Article 40.3.3 “should not be retained in full”.