Sir, – Senator David Norris’s recent statement in the Oireachtas questioning President Michael D Higgins’s suitability to seek a second term in office because of age, is blatantly ageist.
Ageism is the stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination against people on the basis of their age. Unfortunately, ageism is still an everyday challenge which is not countered like racism and sexism but rather a normalised social prejudice. Similar comments about gender or race are not tolerated. The fastest growing demographic in Ireland are older citizens. Ageism marginalises and excludes these citizens and should be countered.
The issue of suitability for the presidency is not age but rather whether or not our President has done a good job and whether or not he will continue to do so.
His leadership during the 1916 celebrations, his outstanding address to the British Houses of Parliament, Australian Senate and forthcoming United Nations, his tireless support for Irish youth, underserved citizens, the creative arts and the important international relationships that he has developed and continues to nurture, underscore some of many achievements during his tenure. The President’s ambitions to further national and international initiatives and the important leadership that he will bring to forthcoming national historical events will serve Ireland well should he decide to seek a second term. – Yours, etc,
Prof Rose ANNE KENNY,
Head of Medical Gerontology and Director of Mercers Institute for Successful Ageing,