Irish Guide Dogs trains its highest number of people to date in 2013

One of Ireland’s much-loved charities, Irish Guide Dogs has announced record achievements for 2013, with even more ambitious plans for 2014

Irish Guide Dogs has just announced that a record number of people, 197, were trained across its range of services in 2013, including its Guide Dog programme, Assistance Dog programme for children with autism, its mobility programme including long-cane training and independent living skills for people who are vision impaired and its child mobility training. The national charity is planning to increase this number to 240 in 2014.

Welcoming the achievement, Board Chair Eddie Murphy, Chairman and

Guide Dog class graduates in 2013. Pictured are (L-R): Deirdre Noctor with Zara; Micheal Costello with Ugo; Cara Gibbons with Uri; Vincent Stack with Zeff and Irish Guide Dogs Instructors David Kenneally and Eoin Slattery

Guide Dog class graduates in 2013. Pictured are (L-R): Deirdre Noctor with Zara; Micheal Costello with Ugo; Cara Gibbons with Uri; Vincent Stack with Zeff and Irish Guide Dogs Instructors David Kenneally and Eoin Slattery

Managing Director of Ford Ireland expressed his thanks to the staff and volunteers for their hard work. He added that he was delighted that through their efforts 197 peoples’ lives and families have been transformed through the valuable services. He continued: “This is a worthy and positive achievement. I would like to congratulate our CEO, Padraig Mallon and the team for their considerable achievements in 2013, all of which would not have been possible without the assistance and generosity of the general public. On behalf of the Board, staff and all associated with Irish Guide Dogs – a huge thank you!”

The national charity was delighted to announce that even while working in a difficult financial climate it managed to raise more money through fundraising in 2013 compared with 2012. “This is a great achievement in challenging times and it is reassuring that the public continue to value our work and trust us to deliver much-needed services for people who are vision impaired and for families of children with autism,” said CEO Padraig Mallon. “With your support and the hard work of our team we aim to train 240 people in 2014 and looking further ahead we have a target of training 266 people in 2016.

“The targets are not just a number – what is really important is 266 lives we will change for the better,” continued Mallon. “While we have a long waiting list of people who desperately need a Guide Dog, all of our dogs are trained to very exacting standards so that they can be a life-changing resource for the recipient family. The lifetime cost of a Guide Dog is €38,000, training is a lengthy process and every single dog that goes through the programme is trained to the highest possible standards. The fact that all of our services and supports are offered free of charge means that anybody who needs our services can get them without having to worry about whether they can afford it. We are aiming very high this year and based on our performance last year and the amazing support of the general pubic I think we can achieve it.”

Irish Guide Dogs requires more than €4.8 million per annum to run the national training centre and sustain services. The organisation is required to generate more than 80% of this amount through fundraising.

To learn more about Irish Guide Dogs


Some Irish Guide Dogs Facts

·         The lifetime cost of a Guide Dog is €38,000

·         All Irish Guide Dog Services are provided free of charge

·         It takes two years to train a Guide or Assistance Dog

·         Irish Guide Dogs have a waiting list of over one year for training with a Guide Dog

·         More than 80% of Irish Guide Dogs’ income comes through voluntary donations

·         It costs more than €4.8 million annually to run the organisation and meet the demand for services.

Case Studies

Kerrie Doyle & Cyril

Kerrie is a 26-year-old from Dublin who received a Guide Dog from Irish Guide Dogs in April 2013. Kerrie is blind due to a condition called retinopathy of prematurity, which caused her retinas to detach. After years of attending a special school for the blind, at the age of 14 the school shut down, forcing her to attend a mainstream school. “Long cane training, which had been timetabled into my schedule at school, stopped and as a result, by the time I was 17 I had no mobility.”

After training with a long cane at the age of 18, Kerrie was delighted at her increased independence. After some years using the long cane, she began to consider getting a Guide Dog. Kerrie was matched with Cyril in April 2013.

“It is because of Cyril that I now truly enjoy travelling and getting out and about in a way I never thought was possible. I’ve now been inspired to apply for university next year,” said Kerrie. “Having Cyril has given me the confidence to know that I can travel anywhere and get around safely.”

“Having a Guide Dog has truly changed my life for the better. I’m glad I didn’t give up on my dream of becoming a guide dog owner and I’m even more grateful and appreciative that Irish Guide Dogs had the faith and belief in me. Cyril is a wonderful gift. A working pair of eyes that are better than any human sighted guide I’ve ever had. He is the best guide I could have ever wished for and more. I’m thankful for him every day and the wonderful work that Irish Guide Dogs do.”

Christine McGrath, Jamie & Daisy

Christine McGrath was matched with Assistance Dog Daisy in summer 2013. Her son Jamie, 9, has autism and was on the waiting list for three years.

After a successful matching visit and training week at Irish Guide Dogs Headquarters, Daisy was ready to go home to the McGrath family of six. The difference, Christine says, has been astounding. “You have to meticulously plan everything for a child with special needs. We were so limited in going out. Jamie bolted a lot and safety was a huge issue. It got to the stage where we just stopped trying.”

Now only six months after Daisy joined the household, the family are able to go for meals and go out with a lot more ease. “I don’t even think about going out anymore. Jamie is so happy with his pal Daisy and so much more confident. It was worth the wait, we now have a fabulous dog.”


Comments are closed.