Galway Advertiser 2004/2004_08_12/GA_1208_E1_017.pdf 

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August 12 2004

Galway Advertiser

N E W S r17

Age discrimination alive and well in Galway
BY ANDREW HAMILTON In their youth most people can't wait to grow up and finally be allowed to do all those things that older people get to do. However, all too often growing older closes just as many doors as it opens. This week the Galway Advertiser examines the growing trend of age discrimination in Galway. Have you ever been denied a job because they said that you were overqualified? If so you may have been the victim of age discrimination. In recent weeks Mr Brendan Noonan was awarded 10,000 from the equality tribunal after being refused two accounting jobs in Galway because he was "too senior" for the positions. The positions of senior financial accountant and senior financial analyst were advertised by Dublin based recruitment company Accountancy Connections last year at salaries of 45,000 and 50,000 60,000 respectively. Both positions were advertised for candidates with a minimum of two to three years experience with no upper level of experience being stated. While Mr Noonan didn't state his age on his CV he did say that he began his first job in 1968 and obviously had the required experience. To his surprise he was disqualified from consideration for both jobs because he was "overqualified". The unpleasant reality is that Mr Noonan's case is the exception and most cases of discrimination are never even reported. Often the problem is that many people don't realise that they are being discriminated against and even more don't know that laws exist to protect them. Legally, discrimination occurs when a person is treated less than favourably than another person is, has been, or would be because of gender, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, religious belief, age, disability, race, nationality, or origins. Worryingly however, with the national age of retirement being raised to 70, the Employment Equality Act in its current form only provides for people up to the age of 65. Carmel Sheridan is the development officer with Age Action West and believes that, in the long run, employers will lose out from discriminating against older people. "They don't realise that they are more reliable than younger people," said Ms Sheridan. "They have a greater loyalty, are not as likely to be looking for another job, and have a steadying influence of the entire staff." While Ms Sheridan believes that older workers do have a lot to offer it is clear that many employers have yet to realise this. "They [older people] tend not to be promoted or considered for training. Very often they are not even considered for new jobs because of their age," she said. Age Action West was established in 1997 and aims to improve the quality of life of all older people in counties Galway, Mayo, and Roscommon. It supports its members through regular meetings, providing information and guidance, and encouraging older people to reflect on the past through reminiscence programmes.

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Playing safe in the sun
BY MARY O'CONNOR The Western Health Board is spearheading a drive to heighten public awareness about the importance of being sun smart. Dr Sheelah Ryan, the chief executive of the health authority is encouraging people to cover up and protect themselves from the sun's harmful rays. The incidence of skin cancer is increasing in Ireland, she says, with about 5,800 cases diagnosed each year. About 300 of these occur in Galway according to the Irish Cancer Society. Some 80 to 90 per cent of all cases of skin cancer are caused by the UV rays of the sun which are present here even on a cloudy day. "When it's sunny outside no-one wants to stay indoors, especially children," says Dr Ryan. "However, heading outdoors without adequate sun protection can lead to sunburn that lingers long after the fun in the sun has ended. Over exposure to sunlight (including tanning) is the main cause of skin cancer especially when it results in sunburn and blistering. Fair-skinned people who sunburn easily are at particularly high risk for skin cancer. The damage caused is permanent and irreversible and it accumulates." She says because the sun's rays are the main culprits, sun avoidance is the best defence against skin cancer. People should only use sunscreen as part of a wider sun-protection strategy, she insists. "Sunscreen should never be a first choice as a sun protection measure or a measure to allow people to stay out in the sun for longer."

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