‘Older people’s lives are being wasted too’

Sir, – Breda O’Brien’s “Older people’s lives are being wasted too” (Opinion & Analysis, May 8th) was a thought-provoking column that should be digested by anyone interested in how we treat our fellow human beings.

Ageism is alive and well.

Covid has shone a bright light on the fallout from cutbacks over recent years.

All of us now, whatever the age, are just ticks in boxes designed by someone from the comfort of a cold bureaucratic setting. This is particularly the case for people over 65.

Many of us are blessed with good health and energy due to the circumstances of our birth and how our lives have panned out, but so many other people are not so lucky.

We should not be afraid to speak out and let our views be heard.

This would support and encourage younger people to see that we are all in this together and that they too, with luck, will reach the ripe old of 65 before not too long. One in six of our population will be aged over 65 by 2030.

Today older people can see themselves portrayed as victims opportunistically or as the new 30 year olds. We should be accepted for what we are, with the rights and opportunities we are entitled to. We should make our presence felt at local and national level to ensure we are not consigned to the scrap-heap before our time.

“Growing old is like being increasingly penalized for a crime you haven’t committed.”

These words were written by novelist Anthony Powell in 1973.

How prophetic was that statement? – Yours, etc,



Dublin 6.


Compassionate caring returns as small upside to Covid-19 – Irish Times

It’s quieter in our reception area these days. We have reopened the doors of the Alice Leahy Trust on Dublin’s Bride Road with new practices for Covid times. We take temperatures, wear visors and ask everyone to wash their hands after they come in our basement door.

The first person back to us when we reopened hadn’t had a shower since we closed in March. He said he had been washing in streams or public toilets whenever he could. We were the only place where he felt he could have a shower or soak his feet. So he went without. Read the full article here

President’s comments reassuring | The Irish Times, May 23rd, 2020

Sir, – President Michael D Higgins made a number of comments in an Italian publication (“Austerity ‘must not’ return, Higgins tells communist paper”, News, May 22nd).

The one that caught my eye was his “huge disappointment for him to see discrimination on the basis of age in the responses to the corona crises by so many countries”. He has given support to the many people over 70 who feel patronised, deeply insulted and discriminated against by the use of the term “cocooner” to describe them. Maybe this term was used in good faith to soften the discrimination. Why his comments should have raised “the eyebrows of senior officials and ministers” is odd because our President is deeply involved in world affairs and has his finger on the pulse of Irish life. He gives inspiration and encouragement to people of all ages, particularly to older people by his example.

Long may he continue to do so, because we all need reassurance at this challenging time. – Yours, etc,


Director of Services,

Alice Leahy Trust,

Dublin 8.