The search begins for Ireland’s best Silver Surfers

27 Jul 2011

Google and Age Action Ireland have banded together to call for people across Ireland to nominate the most prolific technology user over 50 who has made technology a part of their daily lives.

Last year’s winner of the Silver Surfer Awards was 95-year-old Evan Hassell from Dublin. Evan was nominated by his granddaughter Rebekah who said that Evan texts and emails her to distraction. Evan received the overall award for his avid use of the internet and of his mobile phone.  

This is the third year of the Silver Surfer Awards, which celebrates older people and technology in Ireland.

“The Government is committed to helping people of every age acquire the skills that the new digital society requires,” Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte, TD, said.

“The wonderful example set by the group of “Silver Surfers” at today’s launch shows how people of all ages can embrace the internet with only a little effort. We often take for granted that a lot of things are now primarily accessible through the internet, such as booking flights and banking.

“Being able to plan a trip or buy tickets online can greatly increase the quality of life for older people across Ireland. News and other services, including Government services, are also increasingly available online and it is important that older people are in a position to access these the same as everyone else.”

There are seven award categories this year. The public can nominate someone for an award by filling in a form online or by phoning Ciara on 01 475 6989. Closing date for Nominations is Friday, 2 September, 2011.

“Our sponsorship of the Silver Surfer programme is part of our commitment to the issue of helping older people use the internet more effectively,” said Sinead Gibney, social action manager at Google.

“Using the unique strengths and talents of our company and employees, Google hopes to identify scalable and sustainable solutions to this problem on a broader scale.”

The winners of the Google Silver Surfer Awards with Age Action will be announced by Rabbitte at an award ceremony on the 27 September at Google Headquarters in Dublin.

Robin Webster, CEO of Age Action added: “Age Action is committed to helping older people learn how to use technology to create a more inclusive society. The Silver Surfer Awards are a very important part of this. They prove to all older people that it is never too late to learn new skills, and that many people are learning how to use technology so they can play a fuller part in society.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years