John Power

Anna Manahan with Peg Tebay at the opening of the Golden Years Festival in the Tower Hotel. | Photo: John Power

One of Ireland’s best-loved actors, Anna Manahan, is to become the first ever Patron of Active Retirement Ireland.

The organisation represents 457 Active Retirement Associations throughout the country, with a total of almost 25,000 members. Aged 84, Anna has been involved with the Waterford ARA for six years. In common with thousands of members throughout the country, she spoke out strongly against the recent Budget proposals to remove the universal entitlement to medical cards for over-70s, and urged older people to demonstrate in protest.

The organisation’s CEO Maureen Kavanagh says: “We are delighted that Anna has agreed to take on this role. The energy and enthusiasm she displays in her 80s are an inspiration to people of all ages, and fit perfectly with our philosophy that getting older is no barrier to continuing to enjoy life.”

Anna said she was inspired to take on the role because of the organisation’s strong stance on the recent medical cards controversy. “As I was appalled by those proposals myself, I was delighted to see groups that represent older people protesting strongly against them.

“In addition, I am 100 per cent in agreement with the ethos of Active Retirement Ireland. The organisation consistently emphasises the fact that getting older should not – and most definitely does not – equate to becoming a burden on the State. Older people contribute hugely to society, and this needs to be acknowledged. As Patron, this a message that I will strongly promote.”

A native of Waterford city, Anna’s acting career spans 60 years in theatre, cinema, radio and television. She has won numerous awards, including a Tony in the USA a decade ago.

Her appointment was announced at a gala dinner in Waterford as part of the Golden Years Festival organised by the local Active Retirement Association.