Sylvia, who died after a long illness, was a truly remarkable woman, who, despite being widowed at 40, following the death of her husband Denis, reared her family, worked as a teacher and was an activist and campaigner for the rights of women and older people.
She was in the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland; founder member of the Council for the Status of Women and Chair of the Women’s Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
In 1977 she was appointed Chief Executive of the Employment Equality Agency, which was established to oversee the enforcement of the Employment Equality Act.
In 1992 she retired from the Employment Equality Agency but in keeping with her ethos and passion for equality and fairness, she became involved in the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament and was a founder member of the Parliament. The Parliament is an umbrella group which works through and with its affiliated organisations and members to achieve equality and a voice for older people in all areas of their lives.
Sylvia was committed to ensure that the VOICE OF OLDER PEOPLE was heard in all areas which affected their lives. She was determined that the mantra “Nothing about us without us” would apply to all older people.
She served two terms as Chairperson of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament and was a driving force in the organisation of the Protest in 2008 against the withdrawal of the Medical Cards for those aged over 70. She stepped down from active service in 2010 but was always available at the end of the phone for advice and inspiring conversation.
She served on the boards of Age & Opportunity, Aontas, AGE – The European Older People’s Platform and the National Economic & Social Forum.
In 1997 the University of Limerick awarded her an Honorary Doctorate in recognition of her commitment to public life in the cause Equality and Fairness.
In 2009 she was presented with a Quinn-Healthcare / Rehab / RTE People of the Year Award for giving a voice to those who might otherwise be forgotten and for her skill and tenacity in asserting the rights of Older People.
In 2010 Dublin City Lord Mayor Emer Costello presented her with an award in recognition of her work as an advocate for Older People.
Mairead Hayes, CEO of the ISCP on behalf of the President, Executive Committee, Staff and Membership of the ISCP express the great sorrow of the “ISCP Family” at the death of Sylvia. On behalf of Older People we send our condolences to her family, relations and friends.
086 349 8848