Press Release

Minister announces £1 million grant for Visually Impaired

Mr Micheál Martin TD, Minister for Health and Children, has today (13 September 2000) announced a grant of £1 million under the National Development Programme to Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind for phase II of the re-building of their National Training Centre at Model Farm Road in Cork.

At the National Training Centre, Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind provides for:

  • the breeding and training of guide dogs
  • the training of guide dogs with their owners
  • monitoring the guide dogs throughout their working life
  • providing replacement dogs when required
  • long cane training to the blind and visually impaired

“The work of this organisation is a shining example of how the voluntary sector contributes to and enriches lives. The Government is committed to the provision of services and supports to enable people with physical and sensory disabilities to maximise their potential and live as independently as possible within the community,” said the Minister.

In May 2000, the Minister officially opened phase 1 of this re-development project – the new kennel block. Upon completion of phase II – a new residential and administration block, Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind will be in a position to reduce the waiting lists for first time dog owners from approximately three years to less than one year.

Announcing the new funding the Minister said, “Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind epitomises in its work the concept of independent living, providing people with visual impairments with a means of accessing and becoming part of their local community. This new block will greatly enhance the delivery of services to people with visual impairments nationwide.”