An Taoiseach Enda Kenny today joined Healthy Ireland Council Chair Keith Wood to launch an initiative which aims to boost the national movement for health and wellbeing.
The first phase of the new Healthy Ireland Network has been established by the Council to get all types of organisations across the country to sign-up to combined efforts to improve health and wellbeing.
The Healthy Ireland Framework is a Government-led initiative which aims to create an Irish society where everyone can enjoy physical and mental health, and where wellbeing is valued and supported at every level of society. Healthy Ireland has come about because of concerns that the current health status of people living in Ireland – including lifestyle trends and health inequalities – is leading us towards a future that is dangerously unhealthy, and very likely unaffordable.
Healthy Ireland seeks to provide people and communities with accurate information on how to improve their health and wellbeing and seeks to empower and motivate them by making the healthy choice the easier choice.
Healthy Ireland Goals include
- Increase the proportion of people who are healthy at all stages of life
- Reduce health inequalities
- Protect the public from threats to health and wellbeing
- Create an environment where every individual and sector of society can play their part in achieving a healthy Ireland
The Taoiseach was joined by Minister for Health Simon Harris and Minister of State Marcella Corcoran Kennedy at the event in Dublin Castle, which was attended by members of the Healthy Ireland Council and representatives from a wide range of organisations around the country.
Acknowledging the good work already underway in implementing the Healthy Ireland Framework, the Taoiseach said: “The health and wellbeing of our people is our most valuable resource which is why the implementation of Healthy Ireland continues to be a priority for this Government. We all have a role in creating a healthier Ireland, a place where health and wellbeing is top of everyone’s mind and where no-one is left behind. This new Network will be important in ensuring the Healthy Ireland message is spread, understood and acted on throughout all sectors in our society and all parts of the country.”
Minister for Health Simon Harris said the Healthy Ireland Framework provided a blueprint for maintaining a healthy population and shifting the focus more towards preventing ill health and promoting wellbeing.
“The Healthy Ireland Framework sets out a blueprint for how we go about addressing the many public health challenges we have such as the rise in chronic diseases. These are challenges not just for the health services but for the government and country as a whole. We have made a good start in implementing Healthy Ireland and I wish to publicly acknowledge the commitment and contribution of other Ministers and their Departments to this agenda. However all parts of society need to be involved for health and wellbeing policies to have maximum impact and to reduce health inequalities. The Healthy Ireland Council and Network are so important to this. This new Network will help create a critical mass to generate a fundamental shift in how we think and act on health and wellbeing, and the many factors that can impact on people’s quality of life.”
Minister of State for Health Promotion Marcella Corcoran Kennedy said:
“Over the past year in my role as Minister for Health Promotion, I have met many organisations wanting to get more involved in the Healthy Ireland agenda as they are passionate about promoting health and wellbeing in their own communities. This new Network will help provide a platform for those organisations to connect with other, communicate about what they are doing and contribute to actively bringing Healthy Ireland to life across the country. I encourage people and organisations to avail of the resources and supports available under Healthy Ireland, such as www.quit.ie, www.getirelandactive.ie, www.askaboutalcohol.ie and partners such as www.safefood.eu and www.SpunOut.ie to help them do that.”
Keith Wood, Chair of the Healthy Ireland Council said: “The establishment of the Healthy Ireland Network was partly inspired by the dialogue we had as a country in 2016when we asked people what they thought our priority should be for the next 100 years. The answer was, without a doubt, the health and wellbeing of the people living in Ireland. The Healthy Ireland Framework provides us with an opportunity to embrace that challenge and foster a culture where health and wellbeing is prioritised for all, by all. We look forward to working with the wider Network to bring Healthy Ireland to life in every corner of the country.”
The event was concluded by Keith Wood inviting everyone present to sign up to a Healthy Ireland Network ‘Charter’ to visibly demonstrate their support for the vision, values and aims of the Network.
The initial membership of the Healthy Ireland Network was nominated by the Healthy Ireland Council and includes a wide range of organisations including those representing Local Authorities, Government Departments, sports bodies, voluntary, community and charity sector organisations, cancer support organisations, Traveller support organisations, advocacy groups for older people, healthcare professional bodies, unions and professional representative bodies, business groups, educational institutions and private sector companies.
The event also included a ‘showcase’ of various campaigns and initiatives supported by or partnering with Healthy Ireland. These included: HSE National Cancer Screening Services, HSE campaigns (QUIT, Little Things, Dementia UnderstandTogether, ask about alcohol, Get Ireland Active, healthy eating), Sport Ireland, GAA Healthy Clubs, parkrun, Get Ireland Walking, Sport Ireland, Active School Flag, Spun Out, safe food, Healthy Cities and Counties.