independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Leading light - Enda in appeal for the blind

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Desmond Kenny, CEO of the National Council for the Blind, at the lighting up of the ‘Tree of Light’ at Grafton Street, Dublin.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Desmond Kenny, CEO of the National Council for the Blind, at the lighting up of the ‘Tree of Light’ at Grafton Street, Dublin.

THERE was a big red roundy button all ready for the Taoiseach to press. Luckily for the western world it wasn't connected to any class of nuclear arsenal, but to a big Christmas tree at the end of College Green.

Although strictly speaking it wasn't even attached to the tree, because the lads from the Corpo didn't fancy anyone messing around with their nice lights.

So it was a symbolic button for Enda to press in order to symbolically illuminate the Tree of Light in aid of the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI).

The Christmas appeal is part of the 'Make a Dark Day Brighter' campaign which will be held on the shortest day of the year -- December 21 -- when scented candles will be sold on the streets to raise funds for the 224,000 visually impaired people living in Ireland.

Desmond Kenny and Kate Lawlor -- respectively group CEO and chairperson of the NCBI -- were stationed by the Molly Malone to give the Taoiseach a hand with the button, as was Senator Martin Conway from Clare, who has only 16pc vision as he was born with congenital cataracts.

Enda bustled up and got straight down to business, pressing the pretend button and posing with the candles.

"So 100pc of all profits go straight to the NCBI?" he asked Des, who assured him that every last cent went into the organisation.

"I'll say that again, so everyone hears -- 100pc of the fundraising goes to the NCBI," he repeated helpfully in the direction of the single reporter lurking within earshot.

But -- typically -- even though Enda had arrived late, and had another event to go to afterwards, he lingered for some time, asking Mr Kenny how he had lost his sight.

The CEO explained that he had been left blind at the age of seven following an accident while camping.

He has some memory of colour, Enda was told.

"I can see sunrises and sunsets in my mind's eye," he said, adding that he wouldn't appreciate the beauty of a piece of art such as a sculpture, but could admire its geometry.

The campaign is appealing to businesses to sponsor light bulbs on the Christmas trees in Dublin Airport, Grafton Street, Eyre Square in Galway or Emmet Place in Cork by emailing treeoflight- @ncbi.ie.

All €2 donations can be made by texting the word LIGHT to 50300.

Irish Independent

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