President commends vital role played by NCBI in Cork
Her excellency, the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, officially opened NCBI’s state-of-theart regional re-source centre at Ballincollig in Cork in January and thanked the organisation for its important work for people with sight loss in the region.
“NCBI’s expansion into this new premises is testament to the invaluable work being done here in the Southern region, and indeed right around the country. Our population is ageing and that places more demand on an organisation like NCBI, which offers support and services to people who experience difficulty with their eye-sight,” said President McAleese.
NCBI undertakes glaucoma screening in Dáil Éireann
To mark World Glaucoma Day on 6th March 2008, NCBI brought optometrists to the Oireachtas to conduct glaucoma screening for members and staff and to raise awareness of the condition and the importance of early detection. Professor Colm O’Brien, Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Mater Hospital and Ms. Aoife Doyle, Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, later that evening, spoke at a public information meeting about glaucoma at the Davenport Hotel. A free booklet, supported by Pfizer, about glaucoma was also made available.
On 28th April, Minister for Health and Children Ms Mary Harney TD, launched the Vision Impaired Service Providers Alliance (VISPA), an important new coming together of the organisations providing services to peo-ple who are blind or vision impaired.
VISPA is comprised of Fighting Blindness, Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind, St. Joseph’s Centre for the Visually Impaired and NCBI which fostered the development of the alliance.
The key purpose underpinning the formation of VISPA is ‘to be a cohesive voice advocating for increased un-derstanding and awareness of needs and services for persons who are blind or vision impaired’. A new directory which lists the services offered by each organisation was also made available at the launch. This directory aims to make it easier for people to understand and avail of services from one source.
New chair for NCBI’s Board
At the NCBI Board meeting on April 15th Henry Tierney stepped down as Chair of the organisation and was re-elected to the Board as Vice Chair. Margaret McDowell was duly elected the new Chair of the Board. Mrs McDowell has been Vice Chair since 2006 and a member of the Board since 1984 and has been involved as a volunteer with the organisation since 1971.
A tribute to Henry Tierney
In May, NCBI’s Board held a lunch to pay tribute to Henry Tierney, who served as Chairman of NCBI for 18 years. Former Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, TD, was guest of honour at the lunch, which was hosted by Pfizer Ophthalmics and took place at the opening of the Bloom Festival in the Phoenix Park. Mr Ahern joined the voices paying tribute to Mr Tierney and his wife, Rosemary for all of the energy, commit-ment and time that he has given to NCBI over the years.
Dublin Fire Brigade charity calendar 2008 raises €60,000 for NCBI
On 10th April, Dublin Fire Brigade’s Chief Fire Officer, Hugh O’Neill, presented a cheque of €60,000 each to the Irish Cancer Society and the NCBI at Dublin Fire Brigade Headquarters, Tara Street.
The money was raised by 13 brave Dublin-based fire fighters who volunteered to pose for the Dublin Fire Bri-gade Charity Calendar 2008 in various locations around the city in the late Autumn of 2007.
Increase in information available in Braille and audio
In April, the then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, launched a public information and awareness campaign on emer-gency planning. The information was distributed to every household in the country and was also made avail-able in Braille, audio and large print and sent to those registered on NCBI’s VIPER (Vision Impaired Persons Electronic Register) database. VIPER was set up in 2003 to facilitate sending out information in accessible formats.
In May, the Referendum Commission launched its information campaign on the Lisbon Treaty. NCBI worked with the Commission to ensure that the information was available in Braille, audio and large print and once again distributed in these formats to people on the VIPER database.
NCBI publications available in different languages
In recognition of the organisation now working with an increasing number of non-nationals, and in response to an increased demand for our publications in languages other than English, NCBI produced our most popular leaflets in Irish, Polish, French and Lithuanian.
Sean Kelly Tour of Waterford raises €28,000
The 2008 NCBI Irish Cycling Tour led by Sean Kelly took place in August, raising over €28,000 for NCBI. Par-ticipants had a choice of three routes, tailored to their experience and endurance levels!
Eyes on the Future
On Thursday October 9th, St. Joseph’s Centre for the Visually Impaired, Dublin hosted the inaugural Confer-ence of the Vision Impaired Service Providers Alliance (VISPA).
At the conference, Professors Jonathan Jackson and Colm O‘Brien, launched “Eyes on the Future: a study into the prevalence of blindness and vision impairment in Ireland”. The report provides new information about sight loss and will highlight key issues for the public in relation to eye health. It also makes a number of projec-tions and predictions regarding sight loss into the future.