independent

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Going blind proves an eye opener for Mallow mayor

BILL BROWNE

Published 16/05/2013 | 12:30

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Mayor Noel O'Connor is guided through Mallow by Davis College pupil Tony Kavanagh and Richard Napier of the Gilbert Centre. Photo: Bernadette Hayes

THE mayor of Mallow, Cllr Noel O'Connor, turned a few heads in the town last Tuesday when he fulfilled a promise he made to discover for himself the obstacles commonly faced by those with impaired eyesight.

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Cllr O'Connor donned a blindfold and strolled around the town centre for an hour in order to get a feel for the everyday challenges faced by the visually impaired.

He was accompanied on his fact finding mission by service users from the Le Cheile Centre and local town councillors Ronan Sheehan and Roisin Lucey (no jokes, now, about the blind leading the blind).

Cllr O'Connor said the initiative was inspired by a visit to the Guide Dogs for the Blind centre in Cork last year.

"As the mayor of Mallow I found myself asking if we were doing enough in Mallow to help those within our community who are blind or visually impaired," said Cllr O'Connor.

"I thought the best way to do that would be to put myself in their shoes, if only for a brief time, to get a feel for their lives and the obstacles they have to overcome on a daily basis," he added.

Having walked around the town for an hour, Cllr O'Connor said he had come across a few issues of concern, such as signs outside shops that can cause obstructions and the need for a pedestrian crossing at the top of Muddy Hill. He also pointed out that the traffic lights in the town centre were not working.

"These are issues that can be easily addressed, but may not be obvious to people not directly affected by them. In general, it has to be said the town council does a great job in addressing these issues," said Cllr O'Connor.

"This was a worthwhile exercise and if it raises awareness of the problems faced by people with sight issues then it will have been well worth undertaken," he added.

Corkman

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