By Dan Walsh
The famous Croke Park has been recognised as the first Age Friendly Stadium in the world and an Age Friendly Ambassador for each county has been announced and Tony Dempsey, Barntown, takes up the role for Co. Wexford.
A native of Davidstown, Enniscorthy, and former Principal of Enniscorthy Vocational School, Dempsey was Fianna Fail TD for the Wexford constituency, 2002-2007 and served on Wexford County Council from 2009 till 2019. He was the youngest Chairman of Wexford GAA County Board when chosen in 1976.
Tony will help to promote the work that Wexford County Council and partner organisations in the state and voluntary sectors are doing to make Wexford a better place for older people to live.
The stadium has improved its accessibility, including access routes, accessible seating and signage.
Wexford was represented at the event by Cathaoirleach Cllr. Barbara-Anne Murphy, Mayor of Wexford, Cllr Garry Laffan, Wexford County Council. Age Friendly Programme Manager Ann Marie Laffan, Wexford Older Peoples Council Chairperson Kevin Molloy and Wexford Age Friendly Ambassador Tony Dempsey.
Peter McKenna, Croke Park Stadium Director said; “We pride ourselves in setting high standards in the stadium – and indeed across the GAA – in everything we do and our new found status as the first Age Friendly Stadium anywhere is a source of great pride to us.
Alana Officer, Unit Head, Demographic Change and Healthy Ageing at the WHO added; “I welcome the Age Friendly Stadium guidance document which shows how with bold leadership and a systematic approach, Ireland has ensured that its largest sporting and cultural centre – Croke Park Stadium, the home of the Gaelic Athletic Association – has been transformed into the first Age Friendly Stadium”.
Age Friendly Ireland has a vision in Ireland that every city, county, village is age friendly, meaning people of all ages can actively participate in their communities and are treated with respect, regardless of age.
Catherine McGuigan, Chief Officer, Age Friendly Ireland Shared Service, Meath County Council added: “ Croke Park is to be commended for being the first stadium internationally to undergo a formal process to achieve Age Friendly recognition.
The inclusive developments in Croke Park Stadium will benefit not only GAA patrons from every county, but also the wide cross section of Irish society who attend conferences and events in the stadium throughout the year.