Deputies

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Positive ageing strategy in the new year

Timmy Dooley (FF, Clare) raised the issue of the lack of publication of the positive ageing strategy (Dail Eireann, Debates, 20th December 2012, 935-8).  Despite numerous false dawns and promises, it still had not been published.  He asked did the department lack the resources and people?  It was embarrassing not to have published the strategy by the end of the European year for active ageing and solidarity between generations.  As part of the process, a non-governmental liaison group had been established, but it had not even seen a draft: an effort had been made to keep them at arm’s length rather than to engage with them.  Older and Bolder had suggested that the interdepartmental group had been dragging its heels.

 

Responding for the government, the Minister for Justice and Equality Alan Shatter accused Tommy Dooley of living in a fantasy world, for his party had been responsible for the destruction of the economy.  He knew many older people whose financial security had been destroyed by the crass economic negligence and incompetence of the previous government.   A considerable amount of preparatory work had been completed on the strategy.  Final drafting was proceeding within the constraints of staff and other priorities.  It was intended that a draft be brought to government as soon as possible in the new year.  The strategy would make a difference and have a significant impact.  There was a need to complete the cross-departmental consultation process, because the strategy would have an effect on a broad range of departments.  Final drafting of the strategy was proceeding within the departments.  There were staff constraints because of the obligation on the government to downsize the public service and get the public finances in order.  Consequently, if some matters took longer  to come to fruition than might have been possible some years ago, there was a reason for that, which went back to the period when his party was in government.