WHO's Dr Mike Ryan to deliver IGS ALONE Willie Bermingham Lecture 2020

Irish Gerontological Society and ALONE announce this year’s Willie Bermingham Lecture

Key speaker virtually attending the lecture will be Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director, World Health Organisation’s Health Emergencies Programme

Dublin 27 August 2020  The Irish Gerontological Society and  ALONE are delighted to present an online lecture themed:   

Lessons from COVID 19 and how we can improve care and support for older people in our community

The IGS ALONE Willie Bermingham Lecture is the keynote address of the new IGS Scientific Programme 2020/21 Changing Horizons in Gerontology series.

 This year, for the first time, the lecture will be presented as an online event on Thursday 1st October from 2pm.

ALONE and The Irish Gerontological Society proudly welcome key speaker Executive Director at the World Health Organisation Health Emergencies Programme, Dr Michael Ryan.

An opening address by Dr. Diarmuid O’Shea, President of the Irish Gerontological Society and consultant physician in geriatric medicine at St. Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, will set the scene. He will introduce invited panellists to participate and provide their insights towards the theme of this year’s lecture – ‘United in Solidarity with Older People’.

Dr. O’Shea: “The ability to have Dr Ryan speak directly to our members will be a moral boost and catalyst for professionals who have been at the core of COVID care, in the community, hospitals and nursing homes. In recognition of the wonderful work he has done around the world in shaping the response to managing the pandemic we look forward to Dr Ryan’s insights into how, we as a country, can learn lessons from our collective experiences of battling COVID-19 and other pandemics to improve how we deliver support and care to people as they age in Ireland.   We must remember that age really is just a number.  Older people comprise a growing and heterogeneous group ranging from the very fit to frail, and a one size solution does not fit all.  The focus on improvements must be cross sectoral.”

“People providing care to those with complex needs must have access to the right training, education, equipment, advice and support.  From our government and Minister of Health, we must now see concrete support and funding. Actions speak louder than words.  As one example we will hear from Dr Mike Ryan, who in the past has spoken of how important it is to adapt, change, measure and implement.  These actions are at the core of improving any service, and must be central tenets in our collective drive to improve care and supports for us all as we age.    We look forward with great interest to hear from him on this and more during the IGS Willie Bermingham lecture on Thursday Oct 1st at 2pm.”

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, will introduce ALONE and present its vision. “ALONE are delighted to be able to work alongside the Irish Gerontological Society to present this lecture at a critical time for older people.”

He continued, “ALONE continue to provide services and advocate for older people across Ireland, responding with immediacy to newly emerging concerns while also encouraging support to existing issues that are being heightened due to the current pandemic. The theme of the annual Irish Gerontological Society lecture is an essential conversation we’ve been campaigning for with the IGS and in unity with older people for years and years. We are delighted to present our thinking and to learn and align from all that are united in ensuring that Ireland adapts to meet the needs of an ageing population.”


Representatives from ALONE and IGS are available for interview or comment on issues which affect older people, including healthcare, loneliness, pensions, housing, homelessness, and technology.


About Irish Gerontological Society

Founded in 1951, The Irish Gerontological Society (IGS) is one of the oldest multidisciplinary societies in the world concerned with gerontology: the science and study of the ageing process. We are engaged with research, education and practice in the field of ageing.  This includes the study of changes in older people’s physical and cognitive health, and the social changes people experience as they age.

>>About the IGS ALONE Willie Bermingham Lecture and Lecturers<<


ALONE is a national organisation that strives to enable older people to age at home, safely and securely, for as long as they wish. We work with all older people, including those who are lonely, isolated, frail or ill, homeless, living in poverty, or are facing other difficulties. We provide an integrated system of Support Coordination, Practical Supports, Befriending, a variety of Phone Services, Social Prescribing, Housing with Support, and assistive technology. We use support plans, provide a point of contact for access to health, social care, housing, transport and other arising needs using technology and other services and activities to improve physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. We have nearly 3000 volunteers throughout the Country who conduct and provide practical supports to older people, visits and phone calls, linking older people into social activity and being a companion.

Contact ALONE on 0818 222 024.

For more information, contact:

Fionnuala Ennis, Limelight Communications, fionnuala.ennis@limelight.ie 086 319 9226

Kathryn Byrne, Limelight Communications, kathryn.byrne@limelight.ie, 085 233 6033