Social Exclusion and Older People in Diverse Rural Communities

CARDI Involvement
CARDI grant programme


  • Dr Kieran Walsh, The Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, National University of Ireland Galway
  • Dr Michael Murray, Institute of Spatial and Environmental Planning, Queen's University Belfast
  • Dr Sheelah Connolly, Centre for Clinical and Population Studies, Queen's University Belfast
  • Mr Mark Allen and Ms Caroline McGuire, Rural Community Network
  • Ms. Martina Gavin, FORUM, Rural Community Development Organisation
  • Dr John McDonagh, Department of Geography, National University of Ireland Galway


  • Northern Ireland
  • Republic of Ireland

Project Lead

Professor Eamon O’Shea, Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, National University of Ireland, Galway



Funding source

CARDI - Call 3





Last updated

21st August 2013
This will be the first study to address the important question: is rural Ireland a good place to grow old?

The project will be carried out by Healthy Ageing in Rural Communities Research Network (HARC) established with funding from CARDI’s Grants Call 1. It brings together multidisciplinary researchers from NUIG and Queen’s University Belfast with the Rural Community Network and FORUM Letterfrack.

The group will examine social exclusion among older people living in diverse rural areas and investigate ways to prevent social exclusion. The findings will help community stakeholders and policy makers to develop better policies for ageing in rural communities and help practitioners working in the areas of ageing and social exclusion.

The report ‘Social Exclusion and Ageing in Diverse Rural Communities’, was launched at NUI Galway by Ireland’s Minister of State for Disability, Equality, Mental health and Older People, Kathleen Lynch TD, and Northern Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Michelle O’Neill MLA.


Key Findings

  • Four factors were identified which can determine the extent that a person is excluded: (1) individual capacities; (2) life-course trajectories; (3) place and community characteristics; and (4) macro-economic forces.
  • Using these findings, ageing strategies being developed in Ireland and Northern Ireland have the opportunity to develop new programmes to combat social exclusion among rural dwelling older people.
  • Maximising the autonomy, capacity and engagement of older people as well as building intergenerational solidarity in rural communities is key to tackling social exclusion.