Sinn Féin - On Your Side

O'Neill to launch landmark report on potential of blind adults

20 April, 2008


Sinn Féin disability spokesperson Michelle O'Neill will launch a report tomorrow, Monday 21st April, from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

The report entitled, 'Investing in the potential of blind and partially sighted adults' looks at the gaps in service provision for blind and partially sighted people.

Speaking before the launch Ms O'Neill said:

"Blind and partially sighted people are part of the social capital of our society, they should no longer be marginalised but seen as valuable and contributing members of our society.

"However research has shown that 73% of blind and partially sighted people feel that they have been unable to reach their full potential due to a lack of guidance, support and encouragement.

"One of the recommendations in the report calls for a multi-disciplinary workforce responsive to the needs of blind and partially sighted people.

"Blind and partially sighted people are not just one homogenous group, but encompass all ages, many have additional health problems or disabilities including learning difficulties, stroke, and hearing loss.

"Many attend day centres, or are cared for in nursing homes. Others want to participate more fully in social and recreational activities or be in full-time employment or education.

"We need to facilitate all of the above, we need to ensure that blind and partially sighted individuals are given their basic right to equality of access and outcome.

"All services should be provided as a basic right and entitlement, be of an equitable level and quality and ensure that blind and partially sighted people have the well being, self confidence and necessary skills to lead the lives they wish to do.

"I fully support the implementation of these recommendations and call on the minister for Health Michael McGimpsey to act immediately." ENDS

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