Implementing Equality for Older People

The Employment Equality Act, 1998 and the Equal Status Act, 2000 introduced age as a ground on which discrimination is prohibited in the workplace and in the provision of goods and services, educational institutions and accommodation. This placed Ireland to the forefront across the European Union in working to eliminate discrimination. The work of the Equality Authority on foot of this legislation has highlighted a widespread ageism in Irish society in particular experienced by older people. Strong negative stereotypes of older people persist. Negative and ill informed assumptions as to the relationship between a person’s age and a person’s capacity all too often shape decision making. Systems and institutional behaviours end up posing barriers to the participation of older people on foot of such decisions. To date this has been a hidden phenomenon but it would appear to be deeply ingrained. It leads to outcomes that exclude older people.

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