We were delighted to welcome Professor Patrick O’Shea, President of UCC and Rónán Ó Dubhghaill, VP for External Relations to our HQ on Monday 11th December.

The visit served to further strengthen the already strong relationship between UCC and Irish Guide Dogs, presenting an opportunity to discuss the ongoing and potential new collaborations between us and UCC.

During the visit Padraig Mallon, CEO, set out the important role played by Irish Guide Dogs, the pressure to meet increased demand for services and the real difficulty in having to raise over €5 million each year in order to sustain the organisation. He said: “I want to thank Professor O’Shea and Rónán Ó Dubhghaill for making the time to visit us and for showing such great interest in our work”.

He continued “We welcome the opportunity to discuss further assistance from UCC on new research and development projects which will be major contributors to building better awareness and understanding of our services supporting our critical need to secure more funding for those services”.

The visit hosted by Eddie Murphy,Vice Chair of our board, included a tour of the Training Centre and facilities to help build awareness of the services offered by us that enables people to maximise their potential and live as independently as possible within the community.

Professor O’Shea also met with Lean Kennedy, our Advocacy and Policy Coordinator and Guide Dog Owner. Lean who studied Arts at UCC and is currently doing her Masters at the University spoke about her first-hand experience of student life at UCC as a vision impaired person as well as the greater confidence and independence gained with her Guide Dog,

Victoria demonstrates some of the equipment she uses on the NextStep Programme to UCC President Professor Patrick O' Shea and Rónán Ó Dubhghaill, VP for External Relations at UCC
Victoria demonstrates some of the equipment she uses on the Next Step Programme to President O Shea and Rónán Ó Dubhghaill, VP for External Relations at UCC

Victoria Elliot, our Child Mobility Instructor gave a tour of the client services facilities as well as an overview of our  Next Step Programme which aims to equip young people who are blind or vision impaired with the skills to manage the transition to live in college.

We are currently partnering with the Tyndall National Institute, a world leader in nano-technology, to explore the use of sensors that will help us  get a better understanding of our dog training.

This work with the Tyndall is one of a number of collaborations with UCC, which also sees Tyndall develop technology to help better understand the challenging behaviours associated with autism, and ultimately, designing technologies that will allow parents and carers better support children with autism at critical times.

All our services are free of charge, however the running costs of the organisation are over €5 million annually