The Making of Ageing Policy

The Making of Ageing Policy

Theory and Practice in Europe

Edited by Rune Ervik and Tord Skogedal Lindén

Demographic changes transform societies and challenge existing institutional solutions and policies. The need for policies addressing these challenges has increasingly been put on the agenda. The Making of Ageing Policy analyzes these innovative policy ideas and practices at both the international and the national level.

Chapter 4: Powerless observers? Policy-makers’ views on the inclusion of older people’s interest organizations in the ageing policy process in Ireland

Martha Doyle and Virpi Timonen

Subjects: social policy and sociology, ageing


This chapter moves from a focus on the macro politics of old age, that is, on the policy propositions of national governments, international organizations and the impact of global demographic and economic forces to the meso politics (policy-makers’ perspectives on policy as it relates to older people at the national level) and micro politics (older people’s organizations’ involvement in the policy dialogue) of old age (Walker 2006a). It explores policy-makers’ perceptions of older people’s interest organizations and social policy development as it relates to older people in the Irish context. The chapter examines how policy-makers reconcile the widely stated need to reform ageing policy and the imperative to consult with older people and their representative organizations. It questions whether the perceived need to reform (or even retrench) old-age policy conflicts with the need to consult the stakeholder organizations that see themselves as defenders of older people’s services and entitlements. If it does, how do policy-makers reconcile these two competing imperatives? As outlined in Chapter 1, the politics of old age revolves around two distinct discourses. The first discourse constructs the issue of population ageing as a problem that needs to be solved.

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