Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council Matt Doran, Chief Executive Colette Byrne, and Chairman of the Age Friendly Alliance Nickey Brennan launch the plan.
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Over the last five years, Kilkenny has been setting the bar for other counties in the way it tackles issues that affect older people, and finds new ways to enhance their quality of life.
In 2011, Kilkenny Age Friendly Alliance launched its first strategic plan. The plan was built around a consultative process and a baseline study carried out with older people in Kilkenny.
Last Thursday, we began a new chapter in the process, with the launch of the Kilkenny Age Friendly County Strategy 2017 - 2022. The vision set out aims to make Kilkenny 'a great place to grow old in, enjoyed and appreciated by everyone' and to make Kilkenny a county 'that enables its people to age with security, dignity, and the capacity to participate as citizens to their fullest potential'.
The document, which was launched at an event in the Parade Tower of Kilkenny Castle, is the culmination of a lot of hard work. Outgoing chairman of Kilkenny Age Friendly County Alliance Nickey Brennan thanked all the various people, bodies, and stakeholders for their hard work and commitment.
“Kilkenny is rightly seen as one of the leading Age Friendly counties in Ireland as a result of the scale of engagement which the Alliance has developed with its multiple stakeholders,” he said.
Mr Brennan praised the HSE for the way it has 'enthusiastically engaged' with the Alliance to identify new ways to help older people cope with health issues and stay longer in their own homes. He also acknowledged Kilkenny County Council's 'strong commitment' towards older people here.
"Right now, there is a clear age-friendly ethos built into the activities of Kilkenny County Council, and for that I applaud all the staff of the council led by three different chief executives since the launch of our first strategic plan,” he said
“I am thrilled that my successor, as chairperson of the Alliance from today, is the current Kilkenny County Council CEO Colette Byrne, once again emphasising the commitment of our local authority to their support for older people's welfare."
Hugh O' Connor of Age Friendly Ireland praised Kilkenny for leading the way.
“It took a few counties to start this off, and Kilkenny, together with some others, like Louth, were the first counties,” he said.
“They took the risk — frontrunner counties who successfully piloted and tested this. It is now up and running in all 31 local authority areas.
“So it's wonderful that Kilkenny has been an innovator for the city and county — but also an innovater for all of Ireland.
“It's wonderful to be part of the success story,” he said.
Shane Winters of Age Friendly Ireland complimented Nickey Brennan for his leadership and drive.
“Nickey has been an absolute powerhouse in terms of driving the concept forward — not just in Kilkenny, but nationally,” he said.
“Other counties are quite envious of the work that has been done here.”
He also paid tribute to and to Mary O' Hanlon, outgoing chairman of the Kilkenny Seniors Forum. Ms O' Hanlon said engagement had been positive.
“It is good to see it written down, and then it will be even better to see it implemented,” she said.
Chief Executive of Kilkenny County Council Colette Byrne said she looked forward to her new role in the Alliance. She praised the ambitious plan being launched, and said it would need all agencies on board.
“I look forward to working with all of you and continuing the excellent work that has been done,” she said.
“It falls on us now to work together collectively and make progress over the next six years.”