The reality of ‘dropping out’ – Irish Times 19 July

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/the-reality-of-dropping-out-1.3159225

Sir, – Padraig O’Morain reminds your readers of Mareese, who lived happily in a cardboard box not far from the Dáil (“Want to escape the rat race? The reality of dropping out is less attractive than the dream”, July 18th).

She was allowed to “drop out” under the watchful eye of concerned passers-by.

Today, from what we see on a daily basis, she could now be ignored, or worse still be forced to conform to a life of form-filling and box-ticking designed by well-meaning people working to a plan. When Padraig O’Morain stated in his then article that “her meagre payment was to be cut on the grounds that she lived in a cardboard box and didn’t have the same expenses as those who lived in rented accommodation”, I got a phone call from an irate senior female official in the then Eastern Health Board to know if I was paid by The Irish Times to give information to a reporter. – Yours, etc,

ALICE LEAHY,

Director of Services,

Alice Leahy Trust,

Bride Road,

Dublin 8.

Experts and expertise – Irish Times 12 July

Experts and expertise

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/experts-and-expertise-1.3150970

Sir, – The excellent article “Experts need to learn when to say ‘I don’t know’”, by Muiris Houston, should be read and digested, and not just by those working in the field of healthcare (Health + Family, July 11th).

The numbers of “experts” working in or discussing health, homelessness, poverty and community, and so on, is increasing by the day, with many quoted regularly in the media and their words going unchallenged.

Many of these “experts” exert political clout – also without challenge.

There are of course many very dedicated, experienced personnel working in all those areas but what defines an expert remains a mystery.

The lyrics of Mac Davis come to mind, “Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way”. – Yours, etc,

ALICE LEAHY,

Director of Services,

Alice Leahy Trust,

Bride Road,

Dublin 8.

Irish Time Monday 12th June

Tackling ageism in society

http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/tackling-ageism-in-society-1.3114186

Sir, – Like Prof Des O’Neill, I too didn’t realise that the Citizens’ Assembly had called for submissions for its deliberation on ageing (“Citizens’ Assembly can help us break free of the ageism that defines us”, Health, June 7th).
It is increasingly clear that older people are seen as a problem rather than an opportunity, and this is very obvious throughout the public service where a lifetime’s experience can be dismissed so easily. The fact that some people are forced to retire early while feeling as fit as a fiddle reinforces the attitude to older people. In some cases the rush to get rid of people with experience is breath-taking. How much better our debate around the provision of services generally would be if the experience of the years was put to good use, even to help support and encourage the younger generation.
The words of one Stephen Richards capture why it has become so much easier to ignore the elderly. “When we age we shed many skins: ego, arrogance, dominance, self-opinionated, being unreliable, pessimism, rudeness, selfish, being uncaring . . . Wow, it’s good to be old!” – Yours, etc,
ALICE LEAHY,
Director of Services,
Alice Leahy Trust,
Bride Road, Dublin 8.