NUI Galway to Mark 'Say No to Ageism Week'

May 18 2009 Posted: 00:00 IST
The Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG) is organising two free public events to mark 'Say No to Ageism Week', 18-22 May. The ICSG is Ireland's first multi-disciplinary research centre dedicated to the study of the economic and social aspects of ageing in Ireland. Ageism is a set of attitudes and practices that are based on stereotyped, usually negative, assumptions about older people. For example, older people may be assumed to be inflexible in their attitudes, uninterested in their work, physically and/or mentally incapable, unattractive or sexually inactive simply because of their age. These attitudes may be held by key individuals such as employers, managers and service-providers. They may simply be practices that develop over time as opposed to being a deliberate attempt to discriminate. Professor Eamon O'Shea, Director of the ICSG at NUI Galway, says: "Ageism makes no sense economically, culturally or socially. Let's challenge and defeat it so that all citizens can reach their economic and social potential no matter what their age". In terms of employment practices, ageism can mean that older people are not seen as serious contenders for promotion, leading to age discrimination. The idea that people are 'too old to be promoted' at 50, 45 or even 40 is prevalent in some large organisations. Áine Ní Léime is a researcher with the ICSG at NUI Galway, and comments: "There is increasing evidence that ageism exists in Irish society. Ageism was the most common ground for complaint to the Equality Authority, under the Employment Equality Acts, in 2007. The events planned for "Say No to Ageism Week" are designed to highlight awareness of and discussion about attitudes to older people in Ireland, with a view to ultimately helping to combat ageism in Irish society". On Tuesday, 19 May, a seminar in NUI Galway's Moore Institute at 1pm entitled 'An Age-friendly Society in a time of Recession' will feature Niall Crowley, former CEO of the Equality Authority. All are welcome to come along. In the same venue, on 21 May at 11am, a three-hour AgeWise workshop run by trainers from Age & Opportunity will take place. This participatory workshop aims to provide information on older people and ageing in Ireland and to challenge myths and stereotypes. The workshop will enable participants to understand the personal, cultural and structural effects of ageism. It will also serve to identify instances of discrimination against older people and help devise strategies to counter discrimination in their workplace or community. The workshop is organised by the ICSG and the Equality Office at NUI Galway, to register for this free event, please contact NUI Galway's Brenda Fallon by e-mail at


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