Theory and Practice in Europe
Edited by Rune Ervik and Tord Skogedal Lindén
Chapter 4: Powerless observers? Policy-makers’ views on the inclusion of older people’s interest organizations in the ageing policy process in Ireland
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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