A 106-year-old Co Meath woman, who is celebrating her birthday today, has called on the Government to provide proper homes for the homeless, as well as the poor and needy in society.

Nancy Stewart, who lives near Clonard near Kinnegad, on the Meath-Westmeath border, said she is still saving money to try to support those suffering from poverty in Ireland and abroad.

But she said the Minister for Housing needed to provide homes at an affordable rate for the many people around the country who have no home of their home and are staying in hotels and other accommodation.

Hail and hearty at the age of 106, Nancy was joined today for the celebration of her birthday by family and friends at the house where she lived for more than 80 years.

Last December, she broke her hip but has since made a full recovery and was able to stand up and blow out the candles at today's celebration.

Nancy said the secret to her long life and success has been her abstinence from alcohol and cigarettes, but principally her good humour.

"Not fighting with anybody is good for your health," she says, adding that she has little time for telephones and gadgets and walked and cycled most of her life.

Nancy also speaks with great clarity about the arrival of the Black and Tans at her home when she was a young child.

She said she suffered like everybody else from corporal punishment at school, but the parents of a fellow school pupil had put that to an end by threatening the teacher who was doing it.

Nancy lived with her husband and her family at her home in Clonard for over 70 years.

She now lives in the house with her niece Louise Coughlan, who described her as the greatest granny in the world.

The family understands that she is the oldest woman in the country living in her own home.