“Recycled Teenagers” in Kerry Debate Growing Old in Ireland

80 people joined Broadcaster George Hook in The Malton Hotel, Killarney to debate growing old in Ireland. With our population rising and figures projecting 800,000 people over the age of 65 by 2021, Bluebird Care hosted an event to discuss planning for an ageing population.

Photos by Don McMonagle

View all photos from the event here



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The crowd at An EngAGEment with Bluebird Care in The Malton Hotel Killarney

The main issues debated were community policing with Sgt. Jim Foley and Diarmuid Cronin of Muintir Na Tire; Social engagement and active ageing with Peter Kavanagh, Active Retirement Ireland and Philip O’Reilly, Respond Housing; and the impact of austerity on older people by Eamon Timmins of Age Action and Susie Hall from the Alliance of Retired Public Servants.

Some of the key issues raised were:

  • Middle class families are being hurt by austerity and are facing homelessness and are leaning on elderly parents for financial, childcare and even housing supports according to Philip O’Reilly of Respond Housing.
  • When you turn 65 your input into society should not end – age is merely a number and social interaction is vital after retirement. Studies show that you are 4-7 times more likely to have a stroke or a heart attack in the first year after retirement so social interaction and activity is vital. Studies have also shown that minding your mental health and keeping your brain active can reduce incidences of dementia according to Peter Kavanagh of Active Retirement Ireland.
  • Age Action reported that the Government are considering altering the Free Travel Scheme for over 65’s in this year’s budget. Age Action are lobbying Government on this trying to prevent any negative changes.
  • Susie Hall of the Alliance of Retired Public Servants said the Government have hit the most vulnerable in society with their austerity measures. Older people should not have to suffer as they have spent a lifetime paying taxes and giving service to the state.
  • Diarmuid Cronin of Muintir na Tire said older people should look at all risks relating to home security. He also encouraged them to consider getting a social alarm that is monitored 24/7/365.
  • Sgt. Jim Foley spoke about simple ways to protect your home like securing windows and doors, cutting overhanging trees and hedging and lighting up your house and outdoors to prevent intruders.
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Eamon Timmins, Age Action & Susie Hall, Retired Public Servants Association

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Diarmuid Cronin, Muintir na Tire and Sgt Jim Foley, Crime Prevention Officer discuss community policing and home security with George Hook

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Philip O’Reilly, Respond Housing and Peter Kavanagh Active Retirement Ireland discuss social inclusion, active ageing and housing with George Hook

One audience member, 93 year old Bernie McMonagle declared, “In Kerry we don’t like to be referred to as senior citizens, we rather ‘recycled teenagers.’ This set the positive tone for the evening which will feature in an online video shared on

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Gerard Mannix and Bernie McMonagle with George Hook

Schedule Announced for Portlaoise ‘EngAGEment’ Event with George Hook

Event Programme

Thursday 22nd May, Heritage Hotel, Portlaoise

Come along to this free event and have your say on growing old in Ireland. You can book by calling 057-866 6377 or email You can also just come along on the evening.

George Hook hosting An EngAGEment with Bluebird Care

George Hook hosting An EngAGEment with Bluebird Care

7:30pm Registration / Refreshments / Attendees View Exhibition Stand Helplink South, Bluebird Care, Task, Laois Injury Clinic

8:00pm Welcome by Eddie O’Toole, Operations Director, Bluebird Care

8:05pm Master of Ceremonies, Newstalk Broadcaster George Hook

Video “Homecare & Healthcare”

8:10pm Interview with Consultant Geriatrician at the Mater Hospital Dublin, Mr. Dermot Power on Minding your Memory & Mental Health – Dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease

Audience Q&A

8: 30pm George introduces Panel I and Shows Video Clip “Growing Old is a Virtue”

The Importance of Active Ageing for Health, Well Being and Social Inclusion

  • Peter Kavanagh, Information & Networking Officer, Active Retirement Ireland
  • Fr. Jackie Robinson, Parish Priest, Borris in Ossory

Audience Q&A

9:00pm George Introduces Panel II and shows Video Clip: “The Impact of Austerity on Older People”

  • Robin Webster, CEO, Age Action
  • Susie Hall, Association of Retired Public Servants Association
  • Philip O’Reilly, National Co-ordinator Older Persons Services, RESPOND

Audience Q&A

9:35pm Video: “Older People Have Their Say”

9:40pm Closing interview with Eddie O’Toole, Bluebird Care

9:45pm Close and sum up by George Hook / Photos


Bluebird Care Sponsor Respond! National Conference on Housing for Older People

Bluebird Care is proud to sponsor and support the Respond! Housing Association National Conference 2013 entitled “The Best Way Forward – Inclusive Communities for Older People.”

Philip O'Reilly, RESPOND!, George Hook and Eddie O'Toole Bluebird Care

Philip O’Reilly, RESPOND!, George Hook and Eddie O’Toole Bluebird Care

The conference is being hosted on Wednesday 23rd October at The Convention Centre Dublin and is being organised by Respond! Housing Association in conjunction with the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI, Galway.

This conference will have a major focus on advocacy and the importance of enabling and empowering older people to live independently in their homes for as long as possible.


It will also highlight good practice and innovative ways of working with Older People in Ireland today.

Operations Director with Bluebird Care, Eddie O’Toole says, “Independent living is at the heart of what we do. Our support teams facilitate people living in their own home and/or in their own community. We are delighted to support Respond’s national conference and believe their visionary approach to independent living has a huge place in modern society where people are living longer.”

Please download the official Respond! conference brochure here


logoThe Conference is free of charge but you must register with Respond! Housing Association to secure your place before October 10th 2013. Places are very limited so we will not be able to accommodate people who haven’t previously registered. Admission to the conference will be by ticket only.

There are three ways you can reserve your place at the conference:

  1. By phone: You can call Katie Murphy in the Respond! Housing Association Offices at (01) 8087712. Katie will take all of your details over the phone and will send you the tickets in the post if there are places available.
  2. By email: You can email your details to and express an interest in attending the conference.
  3. By booking form: You can print, fill out and detach the booking form on the brochure,  post it to Katie Murphy, Respond! Housing Association Offices, High Park, Grace Park Road, Drumcondra, Dublin 9.