The Irish Guide Dogs Association gives increased mobility and confidence to blind and visually impaired people.

Patrick Street in Cork on a Saturday morning is busy with shoppers, pedestrians and traffic. Among them is Pat Kenneally who is blind. Along with his guide dog, Turk Pat Kenneally navigates footpaths, obstacles and pedestrian crossings, enabling him to confidently step out into the world,  

Getting on with the business of everyday living.

What makes a good guide dog? Robust health and the right temperament, and that the pups are willing to be trained, says Irish Guide Dogs trainer Nigel Catherson. It takes approximately five months to train a dog, at a cost of up to two and a half thousand pounds.  

If you compare the dog as being mobility to the blind person as the car is to a sighted person I don't think it's a great deal of money.

Fifty pence is all that the blind person is asked to pay towards their guide dog's training, and they also receive a feeding allowance from the Irish Guide Dog Association so they are not burdened financially with the cost of keeping the dog.  

A semidetached house in Ballincollig serves as headquarters for the Irish Guide Dog Association, which relies on voluntary donations as it does not receive any government funding. They have received two grants from health boards recently, however, and have ambitions to grow and expand because the need is there, says their spokeswoman, 

Our plans whether we get government help or not are to provide this service for blind people, because there's no mobility service in Ireland.

At present, according to the association, there are three hundred people who could potentially have a guide dog, and many more who could undergo cane training and work up to it 

A guide the Rolls Royce of mobility for a blind person.

Being able to get out and about and live a full life is what Pat Keaneally has now, thanks to his guide dog which enables him 

To go about his business, in independence.

When he lost his sight he was confined to the house for four years, only leaving on Saturday nights for a night out with his wife.  

Now this hurling supporter can go wherever he wants, whenever he wants, as long as Turk is by his side, which includes matches in Páirc Uí Chaoimh,  

If it is raining or snowing, anything at all I can come out and go where I want to.

This report for 'Ireland's Eye’ was broadcast on 24 March 1981. The reporter is Pat Butler.