Older people have never had it so good


A chara, – Several of your esteemed commentators have written letters bemoaning ageism and their perceived victimisation by society at large, and yet many older people have never had it so good.

Ireland’s life expectancy continues to increase, and older people are consuming an increasing proportion of Ireland’s ballooning health expenditure.

Older people have been favoured by earlier access to vaccines, despite many younger frontline workers being more exposed to potential infection.

Unemployment is hugely skewed against younger people in our society, with 59 per cent of people aged 15 to 24 currently unemployed

Wealth inequality has never been higher in Ireland with most of the wealth owned by older people, while the current generation of younger people may be the first in living memory to be poorer than their parents.

Many older people were given council houses at low rents which they were later able to buy at knockdown prices and sell on at market prices, making huge profits and increasing the cost of housing for younger people generally.

Many older people were able to live quite well on one salary coming into their household while today’s young married couples need two salaries coming in to pay the rent.

They cannot afford to buy a house until much later in life and having children often has to be postponed until their late thirties to ensure that some semblance of financial stability has been achieved.

With both parents having to work, today’s parents of younger children are also faced with crippling childcare costs, longer commutes, and a “free” education system that is anything but free.

Many older people had secure jobs for life while today’s young are increasingly employed in the precarious gig economy where there is no certainty of income and where obtaining a mortgage is almost impossible. Many older people saw the size of their mortgage eroded by inflation and paid off within 25 years whereas today’s young are paying some of the highest interest rates in Europe on mortgages often lasting over 30 years.

An Inter or Leaving Certificate was all many older people needed to land well-paying jobs, whereas today’s young often require a degree, sometimes a postgraduate degree, and many with doctorates are living in relative poverty with no prospect of secure well-paid employment until well into their thirties.

Older people today can take advantage of free travel on public transport and much reduced prices for travelling to exotic holiday destinations abroad in off-peak periods, whereas younger parents are confined to expensive peak holiday prices during school holidays.

I’m not suggesting that everything in the garden is rosy for older people, but I do feel a little more appreciation for how hard today’s young have to work to achieve a foothold on the housing ladder and raise a family might be in order.

Younger people are being failed by our political system, controlled largely by their elders, and then people wonder why political extremism is on the rise. – Is mise,



Co Wicklow.