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Time to end inequality for blind and partially sighted people

The Royal National Institute of Blind People in Northern Ireland has issued a call to action to politicians, policy makers and partner organisations, to join them in ending the inequalities faced by blind and partially sighted people here.

RNIB’s research has revealed that people living with sight loss in Northern Ireland continue to face barriers in key areas such as: transport, accessible health information, receiving timely healthcare, access to employment, and general equality of access to services. 

Speaking at the launch of their Northern Ireland Engagement Report at Parliament Buildings, Belfast, RNIB’s Northern Ireland Chairperson, Andrea Begley said:

“Today’s event has the potential to kick-start a better era for blind and partially sighted people here, where our voices are heard, and concerns addressed. The report shows that there are still many barriers faced by the community from accessing transport, to employment, to living independently, but that the solutions to many of these issues exist.

“I know that blind and partially sighted people are passionate about breaking down the barriers that exist for us, but I also know that we cannot do it alone. RNIB working with the community, government and other partners will now forge ahead to create the real change we all want to see”.

A long-time campaigner for people living with sight loss, David Mann, was one of those who provided personal experience and insight to the RNIB research. He commented:

“Independence and dignity go hand in hand. Independence doesn’t necessarily mean doing everything without help; it means being in control of when you get help or support and what form that help, and support takes. For this to be a reality, you need confidence and skills, and you also need a society geared up to offering the right support.”

RNIB Northern Ireland now plans to take their priorities for change out to a series of regional meetings, bringing together blind and partially sighted people, partners and key decision makers to examine how we can collectively create a society where there are no barriers to people with sight loss.

For media enquiries please contact Aideen Kennedy on Direct Line: (028) 9033 4132 or Mobile: 07763 579 141. Email [email protected]

Notes to Editors

  • Launch Event – 13th of February 2020
  • Location – Long Gallery, Parliament Buildings, Stormont
  • Time – 11am-12pm

Interviewees available

  • Andrea Begley – Chair of RNIB Northern Ireland Committee
  • David Mann – Campaigner and activist for blind and partially sighted people
  • Jackie Witherow – Country Director for RNIB in Northern Ireland

RNIB Northern Ireland Community Engagement Report

The report is based on feedback collected at 6 focus groups in Armagh, Belfast, Cookstown, Derry/Londonderry, Downpatrick and Enniskillen. We also connected with people online via Facebook and Twitter.

Full and summary versions of the report can be downloaded from 13 February on our Northern Ireland page

Accessible versions are available on request by emailing [email protected] or [email protected].


The Royal National Institute of Blind People in Northern Ireland (RNIB NI) is here for everyone affected by sight loss. If you’re blind or partially sighted, or supporting somebody who has lost their sight, we offer a wide range of services, support and information to help. Working with our supporters and partners, we’re changing wider society to create a world where sight loss isn’t a barrier to living life to the full.