The new Chair of Sage Advocacy has called for the immediate establishment of the Commission on Care, urging that it must be a focal point for profound change that will lead Irish society towards providing a ‘GAA for Care’.
Mark Mellett, who has begun his tenure as Chair of Sage Advocacy, said he wanted to encourage a national conversation about the type of Ireland we wish to grow old in, and to also help bring about the significant change needed.
“I have a strong sense that the public, and many of our legislators, are becoming increasingly concerned at the extent to which home and congregated care is being controlled by private, often overseas, companies.
“We know that there are cost pressures on care providers, but we need to reflect on the morality of systems that increase charges for residents in order to provide dividends for investors in other jurisdictions.
“In October Sage Advocacy will publish results of a Red C Poll, which will inform our approach to the Commission on Care that was promised in the Programme for Government, but has yet to be established.
“The Commission on Care is an opportunity to develop a single integrated system of long-term support and care for older people covering homes, nursing homes and other places of care.
“We need a system that is driven by the needs of the many and that can attract the support and active involvement of the communities in which older people wish to live; a system that some people are increasingly referring to as a ‘GAA for Care’.
“‘Ar scath a chéile a mhairimíd’ / ‘we live in each other’s shadow’ is an old Irish saying that captures the essence of the social solidarity that Sage Advocacy is motivated by. We need the Commission and we need its agenda progressed with immediacy.”
Mr Mellett also paid tribute to outgoing Chair Patricia Rickard-Clarke, solicitor and former Law Reform Commissioner, who he said had shown “enormous leadership, and political and legal skill, in pushing forward Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) legislation over the past 20 years.
“We honour Patricia’s great contribution to the rights of people in this country, and to the development of Sage Advocacy throughout the past decade.”