The law and persons with disabilities

Under the Equal Status Acts 2000 – 2012 and the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003, accommodation providers, i.e. hotel and guesthouse proprietors, are prohibited from discriminating against persons with disabilities.

Hotel and guesthouse proprietors must make reasonable changes to how their services are provided, where without these changes it would be impossible or unduly difficult for persons with disabilities to avail of those services.

This is known as reasonable accommodation. Hotel and guesthouse proprietors provide reasonable accommodation when they facilitate Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs on their premises while it is assisting its owner.

These obligations also extend to all publicly accessible spaces including pubs, restaurants and theatres.  If you would like to know more or to speak directly with us please email clientservices@guidedogs.ie

Travelling with a dog

European rules

Under Regulation EC 1107/2006 (Rights of Disabled People when Travelling by Air), European airports must provide assistance to passengers with a disability or reduced mobility. Similarly, airlines must provide assistance to persons with reduced mobility on board the flight.

Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs travel with their owner in the air cabin (free if charge) provided the air carrier, or its agent, or the tour operator has been notified in accordance with applicable national rules.

National rules

Ireland and the United Kingdom are free of rabies. Consequently, there are no restrictions on Guide Dogs or Assistance Dogs travelling directly between Ireland and the UK, or on dogs leaving Ireland.

In order to remain rabies free there are some restrictions on Guide Dogs, Assistance Dogs and pets (i.e. dogs, cats and ferrets) travelling into Ireland from countries other than the UK. However, since 2004, pets, Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs can now travel into Ireland without having to go through quarantine. This is permissible under the EU Pet Passport Scheme.

EU Pet Passport

The passport is a document which shows the Guide Dog or Assistance Dog:

• is travelling from an eligible country
• has been appropriately micro-chipped
• has been vaccinated against rabies
• has been successfully blood-tested for antibodies at least six months before entry into Ireland
• has been correctly treated for tick and tapeworm 24 to 48 hours before entry in to Ireland

Under the scheme, certain countries (EU and non-EU), transport companies and destinations are approved to accept Guide Dogs or Assistance Dogs. You may find a list of these destinations and carriers on the Department of Agriculture website.

Travel to and from a non-EU country

Guide Dog owners and Assistance Dog owners resident in Ireland who may wish to visit an eligible non-EU country may utilise the EU Pet Passport to travel directly back in to Ireland. Guide Dog owners and Assistance Dog owners who reside in a non-EU country and wish to visit Ireland may do so using a Veterinary Certificate.

The Veterinary Certificate must be accompanied by the following supporting documentation:

• rabies vaccination certificate with microchip number
• blood test results issued by an approved laboratory with microchip number

Prior Approval Scheme

In some instances, the Department of Agriculture will approve the carriage of a Guide Dog or Assistance Dog on an unapproved carrier, from an eligible country, under a system known as the Prior Approval Scheme. You must contact the Department of Agriculture when seeking prior approval.

Checks

Your pet’s identification and all of the passport/certificate details will be checked by your carrier, e.g. airline or ferry company. In the case of ferry travel, these checks will take place in France, before embarkation. Airlines will do their checks at the relevant Irish airport.

The Guide Dog, Assistance Dog or pet is allowed enter into Ireland without risk of quarantine, once it is established the Guide Dog or Assistance Dog or pet complies with all of the conditions of the pet passport system.

Guide Dog owners and Assistance Dog owners are responsible for ensuring all conditions are met. You should always contact the Department of Agriculture for advice when planning to travel into or out of Ireland with a Guide Dog, Assistance Dog or pet.

Exemptions

The Department of Agriculture has some exemptions in place to facilitate Guide Dog owners or Assistance Dog owners travelling into Ireland. They are as follows:

(i) The Guide Dog or Assistance Dog may land in any airport in Ireland
(ii) The Guide Dog or Assistance Dog does not have to travel as cargo (manifested freight)
(iii) The check will be done on arrival, free of charge, in the airport

For further information you may contact the Animal Health and Welfare Office in the Department of Agriculture on:
Pet Passport Helpline Phone: +353-1-607-2827 or 1890 504 604
Pet Passport Fax: +353-1-607-2843
Email: pets@agriculture.gov.ie
Website: http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/pets

Getting an EU Pet Passport

Step 1: Micro-chip

As a first step your Guide Dog or Assistance Dog must be micro-chipped to provide identification.

Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind ensures Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs are micro-chipped when they are in training.

Before you travel you should ensure your vet checks the micro-chip may be read by an appropriate scanner.

Step 2: Application form

Your vet should complete the passport application form and return the form to the issuing authority.

The form can be downloaded from the Department of Agriculture website: www.agriculture.gov.ie

Step 3: Rabies vaccination

Your vet should then vaccinate your Guide Dog or Assistance Dog against rabies.

Step 4: Blood test

Once sufficient time has elapsed following vaccination (usually about a month but your vet will advise) your vet should do a blood test to confirm a sufficiently high level of rabies anti-bodies.

If your Guide Dog or Assistance Dog fails this blood test, your vet will have to revaccinate and test again. This blood test is a requirement for re-entry into Ireland.

Step 5: Receipt of Pet Passport

Your Guide Dog’s or Assistance Dog’s passport, with certain details completed, will be sent out directly to your vet. When it is received your vet can then enter the details of the rabies vaccination and the blood-test results.

Step 6: Time limit

Six months must have elapsed after the date of the blood test before you travel into Ireland. It is the responsibility of the Guide Dog owner or Assistance Dog owner to ensure the rabies vaccination is re-administered before the current one expires i.e. there should be no break in vaccination.