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Limerick Branch of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind goes digital for Guide Dog Day 2020

Guide Dog Day 2020: Roy Keane with Guide Dog Yazz and Assistance Dog Quelda. Photos taken prior to Covid-19. Photos by Gerard McCarthy Photography.

Limerick Branch of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind goes digital for Guide Dog Day 2020

Roy Keane has helped to launch Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind’s one-day national fundraising campaign Guide Dog Day which takes place this Friday 8 May. This year’s fundraising efforts have been taken online and to the airwaves with the charity urging the public on its social media platforms to donate what they can to lessen the impact of Covid-19 on its services.

Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind is a national charity dedicated to helping people living with sight loss or autism improve their mobility and independence. For over 40 years they have provided life-changing services and support to people across Ireland with sight loss.


Marie Ryan, Chair of the Limerick Branch of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind said “Guide Dog Day enables us to raise much-needed funds and is a day to celebrate the difference our dogs make to those who are vision impaired and the families of children with autism who can lead more independent lives. Although traditionally a campaign which sees volunteers fundraising around towns and city streets, this year we’re focussing on telling our clients’ stories online and on the radio. Now more than ever we need support as we aim to change as many lives as we can this year and beyond into 2021 and 2022. It is a time to raise much-needed funds but also to pause and reflect on the rich contribution of our Clients and dogs make to society.”

The Covid-19 crisis has had a significant impact on the organisation.

  • All community fundraising cancelled since March and now on into the summer months against a background where it costs €5 million per annum to run the charity and €53,000 to train one Guide Dog.
  • 35 Guide Dog Clients currently awaiting services.
  • 45 dogs currently in training who need to complete their training and begin the matching process.
  • 111 puppies currently being puppy raised who need to continue their formal training.
  • High demand to open the 2020 Assistance Dog Programme which is planned for once social distancing restrictions are reduced. 200 applications in 4 minutes when the waiting list was opened in 2019.
  • 100 dogs in total to be born or purchased during the remainder of 2020 for the growth of the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind Breeding Programme to continue. This year’s births will be the dogs raised and trained in 2020, 2021 and into 2022.

Guide Dog Owner Chris Egan shared his story as to how his life has been changed:

“Before I got Umar, I used the long cane. It was more challenging manoeuvring in crowds as I was having to find obstacles, whereas Umar will navigate freely. All I do is follow him. Steps were always a great cause for concern, now I’m more confident that Umar will stop me and I can proceed with caution safely.

Life is more sociable now with Umar, he has lots of admirers in the workplace who pay him lots of compliments and give him the odd rub or scratch. Any time I go away to new places I can rely on Umar to get me back to base safely. Because of the constant company, Umar is now my new best buddy.” details the seven ways to donate including: Text WOOF to 50300 to donate €4*, donate online, set up an online fundraiser, donate by credit card (1850 506 300), post a cheque, by electronic transfer or using in-store Chip & Pin or collection boxes.

For more information and to donate to the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind, click here

For more stories on the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind, click here






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.