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PHOTOS: Students of Down Syndrome Limerick Latch-On Programme get their hands on the Liam McCarthy Cup

Pictured are the staff and students of Down Syndrome Limerick welcoming the McCarthy Cup – teacher Catherine Fitzgerald, Kieran Wagstaffe, James Brennan, tutor Anna Moloney, Mikie Dore, Conor Keogh, and Lorraine O’Connor (back),  Ciara McCarthy, Noel Darragh Martin, Emma Hoban, and Fiona McKennedy (front). Picture: Orla McLaughlin/ilovelimerick

PHOTOS: Students of Down Syndrome Limerick Latch-On Programme get their hands on the Liam McCarthy Cup

By I Love Limerick Correspondent Sinead Fitzgibbon

Down Syndrome Limerick endeavour to support families and individuals with Down syndrome throughout their life, through a range of Social, Education and Development activities. Their sole purpose is to recognise the importance of early intervention and developing communication skills all while considering the individuality of the person.




Down Syndrome Limerick provides a two-year literacy programme for adults with intellectual disability, called Literacy & Technology Hands On (Latch-On). Latch-On was initiated and developed at the school of education at the University of Queensland, Australia and has a strong foundation in educational research and practice.

Latch-On is a four module literacy programme focusing on topics such as the wider world, sport, music and computers, where they learn various useful skills such as writing an email. The programme is taught twice weekly on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9.30 am to 3 pm. They currently have twelve students on the course. The programme provides opportunities for adults with Down syndrome to commence and continue their literacy development. Catherine Fitzgerald, Latch-On teacher told ilovelimerick “Overall, it is an excellent programme in the sense that they build up new friendships, independence, speaking, listening to each other and conforming to a normal day at college.”

During the year, the students get a chance to go on excursions to see hands on what they have been studying, including The Hunt Museum, Bunratty and art galleries. Some of the students go on work placement including the library and leisure centre. Catherine said, “Some of the students we have had in previous courses have ended up getting part-time jobs, which is absolutely fantastic. It gives them independence and confidence. At the end of the two years, they graduate and that is a beautiful night I must say.”

On Wednesday, May 8 the Latch-On class invited The Liam McCarthy cup to Down Syndrome Limerick. Seamus Hickey, retired Limerick hurler, was the guest speaker. Seamus said, “I love Limerick, I love playing for Limerick and it is great to see such enthusiasm, such support for the green and white when we go around. I encourage you to support Limerick, support sport and to enjoy it.”

Some of the students also said a few words on the day. Fiona, a student, said, “I would like to welcome the Liam McCarthy cup to our centre. Thank you to everyone involved in bringing us the cup. We are looking forward to having the Liam McCarthy cup back here again in September. Up Limerick!”

For more information about Down Syndrome Limerick visit

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Photos: Orla McLaughlin/ilovelimerick 

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.