Changing Generations

Findings From New Research on Intergenerational Relations in Ireland

The results of Changing Generations – a collaborative research project undertaken between 2011 and 2013 by the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, NUI Galway, and the Social Policy and Ageing Research Centre, Trinity College Dublin – were launched by Irish Times columnist Roisin Ingle in Dublin on Wednesday, 17 April 2013. Changing Generations addresses important issues concerning the relationships between different generations in Ireland. Against a backdrop marked by economic recession and demographic change, the research has used cutting-edge qualitative research methods to examine not only how people of different generations live together, but also how ‘ordinary’ people perceive the social policies that support individuals at different stages of the life course. In addition to 100 in-depth interviews with ‘ordinary’ people, the research team interviewed 20 leaders from private, public and civil society sectors.

Evidence from both sets of interviews points to three key findings:

  • Intergenerational solidarity remains very strong in Ireland.
  • Intergenerational solidarity within families is helping people in Ireland to survive the recession.
  • Socio-economic inequality, not intergenerational difference, is a more significant cleavage between groups living in Ireland today.

Reflecting on these findings, the report authors recommend that commentators should think twice before making a case for actual or impending conflict between the generations.
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