Press Release

Minister Callely attends Down Syndrome Ireland´s Annual Ball

Mr Ivor Callely, T.D. Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children with special responsibility for services for older people today (21 February, 2004) attended the Down Syndrome Ireland´s Annual Ball in the Four Seasons Hotel, Ballsbridge, Dublin.

Down Syndrome Ireland was established in 1971, at a time when the provision of services for people with disabilities was in its infancy. The association now has 24 county branches and a membership of over 2,500 family units countrywide. What was once a parent support group has now become an extremely active and vital organisation. There are about 5,000 people in Ireland with this disability. It is estimated that about one baby born in every 600 has Down Syndrome. It is the single most common cause of learning disability in this country.

Since 1997, significant additional funding amounting to€643m. has been invested by this Government to support services for people with disabilities.

“Despite the considerable progress in the education and integration of children with Down Syndrome into the society there was still a long way to go to eliminate ingrained prejudices and preconceived ideas about children with this disability& stated the Minister.

The Minister praised Down Syndrome Ireland´s attempts to increase awareness of this syndrome and to educate those who are still unable to see past physical appearance and relate to the unique and very individual personalities of those with this disability.

The Minister thanked the Association for the significant contribution which it has made through hard work and dedication on many fronts on behalf of people with Down Syndrome and wished them well in their efforts this year.