10-11 June 2017

2016 – 2018 Citizens’ Assembly 

First Meeting on How We Best Respond to the Challenges and Opportunities of an Ageing Population

The Assembly met on 10-11 June 2017 to discuss the second topic assigned by the Houses of the Oireachtas – how we best respond to the challenges and opportunities of an ageing population.

Agenda for first meeting of the Citizens’ Assembly on how we best respond to the challenges and opportunities of an ageing population

Saturday’s Proceedings

The Chair’s opening speech to the Assembly on the Saturday morning available to read here.

Session 1- Demographic Trends and Projections

Deirdre Cullen (Central Statistics Office) – “Demographics and Older People

Deirdre Cullen is a career statistician who has worked for the CSO for over thirty years. She has been involved with the census for the past 18 years and is currently a senior statistician with responsibility for delivering the 2016 Census Project. She was also responsible for the most recent set of Population Projections which were published in April 2013. Deirdre has extensive media experience and can frequently be heard on radio discussing the wide range of statistics that are published by the CSO.

Deirdre Cullen’s delivery of her paper on “Demographics and Older People”  was accompanied by a slideshow presentation. Ms Cullen’s presentation to the Assembly can be watched back here.

In the week following the presentation at the Assembly, Ms. Cullen very helpfully furnished to the Assembly additional material based on the questions raised by the Members. This additional material was provided following the publication of the Census 2016 module on An Age Profile of Ireland on 6th July 2017. This information was provided to the Members on 6th July 2017 and can be viewed here.

Session 2- What is it like to age in Ireland?

Dr Diarmuid O’Shea (St. Vincents University Hospital) – “What is it like to age in Ireland – and what are the opportunities?

Dr Diarmuid O’Shea – graduated from University College Dublin and is a Consultant Geriatrician in at St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin, Ireland. He served as the Masterclass Series Convenor and Vice-President of Education and Professional Development at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) from 2007 to 2014, and was appointed to the role of Registrar of the RCPI in 2014. He has been the Clinical Lead for the National Clinical Programme for Older People in the HSE since the inception of the clinical programmes in 2010.

Dr O’Shea’s delivery of his paper on “What is it like to age in Ireland – and what are the opportunities?” was accompanied by a slideshow presentation. Dr O’Shea’s presentation to the Assembly can be watched back here.

Long-Term Support and Care: Facilitating Independent Living

Session 1- Current Practice in Ireland -Options Available

Dr Michael Browne – “Responding to the Challenges and Opportunities of an Ageing Population: How long-term care and support is currently provided in Ireland

He has extensive experience in carrying out policy research and analysis for both statutory agencies and NGOs in Ireland over many years, working independently or as part of O’Mahony-Browne Researchers, of which he is a co-founder. He currently works on a part-time temporary contract basis with the Citizens Information Board. He is author of number of research and evaluation reports and discussion papers on a wide range of health, housing and welfare policy issues. These have included themes relating to both older persons and young people; housing; transport; health and employment rights; and themes relating to independent information, advice and advocacy. Michael has worked on a part-time basis with Sage over the past 2 ½ years and has been particularly involved in the development of the Forum on Long-term Care for Older People and has written the Forum Report. He has also worked on developing the Quality Standards for Support and Advocacy Work with Older People.

Dr Browne’s delivery of his paper on “Responding to the Challenges and Opportunities of an Ageing Population: How long-term care and support is currently provided in Ireland” was accompanied by a slideshow presentation. Dr Browne’s presentation to the Assembly can be watched back here.

Session 2- Current Practice in Ireland- How to access the system

Pat Healy (HSE) – “Long Term Support and Care: Facilitating Independent Living” 

With more than 20 years of management experience in the health service, in July 2013 Pat Healy was appointed as National Director Social Care in the Health Service Directorate. With a budget in the region of €3.4 billion & 26,000 staff Pat is responsible for ensuring the delivery of safe, efficient and appropriate services to older people and people with disabilities and implementing extensive social care reform as part of the wider health system reform programme. In his previous role, Pat was the Regional Director of Operations for the HSE South, prior to this he was the Assistant National Director, Community Services, Chief Officer of the Southern Health Board and has also been a Director of Disabilities.

Pat Healy’s delivery of his paper on “Long Term Support and Care: Facilitating Independent Living“, prepared for the Assembly, was accompanied by a slideshow presentation. As part of his presentation, Mr Healy also showed a video entitled ‘Nora’s Story‘. Mr Healy’s full presentation to the Assembly can be watched back here.

Session 3- Current Practice in Ireland- first hand perspectives

Audio Interviews

The following audio recordings were played before the Assembly:

Mr Éamon Ó Fearghail

Mr Éamon Ó Fearghail, who is a carer for his mother, Cathleen who is 87 and has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, gave this presentation before the Assembly. Mr Ó Fearghail’s presentation is available to watch back here.

Session 4- Models of Care in other countries

Professor Anthea Tinker (King’s College London) – “Facilitating Independent Living – Long Term Care and Support

Anthea Tinker has been Professor of Social Gerontology at King’s College London since 1988.   She has been on the staff of three Universities and three Government Departments. She chaired the College Research Ethics Committee from 2001 – 2011. Internationally she has been a Consultant to the WHO, EU and OECD.

She was awarded the CBE in 2000 in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for Services to Housing for Older People, was elected a Founding Member of the Academy of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences in 1999, elected a Fellow of King’s College London in 1998 and was President of the Section of Geriatrics and Gerontology, Royal Society of Medicine 1998-2000.  She was awarded the title of Fellow of the British Society of Gerontology in 2008.  She was one of the Women of the Year in 2002. In 2010 she was awarded the Alan Walker prize by the British Society of Gerontology for her significant and lasting contribution to Social Gerontology.  In 2016 she was awarded the King’s College London Lifetime Achievement Award.

She is the sole author of eleven books and co-author of twenty one.  She has also written over 350 articles.  She has undertaken a wide range of research in the field of social policy specialising since 1974 in Gerontology.  Much has been multidisciplinary with a wide range of disciplines including medicine, engineering, architecture and other social sciences.  Her research includes studies of long term care, housing, assistive technology (including navigation aids, mobility of older people, introducing assistive technology into older people’s homes and remodelling sheltered housing and residential care homes to extra care housing), family care, older workers, community care, older women, very old people, grandparents,  age friendly cities, elder abuse, social isolation, falls and accidents. She is particularly interested in the ethics of research and the contribution of older people.

Professor Tinker’s delivery of her paper on “Facilitating Independent Living – Long Term Care and Support” was accompanied by a slideshow presentation. Professor Tinker’s presentation to the Assembly can be watched back here.

Sunday’s Proceedings

Funding Long-Term Care in Ireland

Eamon O’Shea (NUI Galway) – “Funding Long Term Care

Eamon O’Shea is a Personal Professor in the School of Business & Economics and was inaugural Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG) at the National University of Ireland, Galway. He was Chair of the National Economic and Social Forum Expert Group on Care of the Elderly in 2005/06 and co-authored the influential Creating Excellence in Dementia Care report in 2012. He is currently a member of the Implementation Group for the Irish National Dementia Strategy. Eamon is a member of the Assembly’s Expert Advisory Group.

Eamon O’ Shea’s delivery of his paper on “Funding Long Term Care” was accompanied by a slideshow presentation. Mr O’Shea’s presentation to the Assembly can be watched back here.

The Chair’s closing remarks at the end of the weekend are available here.

Additional Information Provided to the Members

Over the course of the first weekend, Members raised a number of issues which had not been covered in detail by the expert speakers including enduring powers of attorney, advance healthcare directives (living wills) and wards of court. Following the meeting Members were provided with a copy of the Relate Journal from April 2016, which deals with these issues. Relate is the Citizens Information Board’s monthly journal on legislation and developments in social services and social policy. The document the Members received can be read here.


Over the course of the weekend the Members engaged in roundtable discussions, with the assistance of facilitators at each table.

Each table was provided with the same conversation starters for each session.

Member Brainstorming on the Work Programme for the Next Weekend

On the Sunday afternoon, the Members engaged in a roundtable brainstorming exercise on what issues they would like to cover at the second and final weekend this topic is considered.

To aid discussions, the secretariat prepared this paper.

Feedback from the Members was given in public session which is available to view here.


A list of Members at the first meeting on how we best respond to the challenges and opportunities of an ageing population is available here.