The July 2019 winners of the Talbot Collection Cork Community, Business and Sports Awards

The July 2019 winners are the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind. This month’s award falls under the Community Award category.
The Awards Scheme is sponsored by the Talbot Collection Cork along with Award Sponsors AIB Midleton & Ballincollig.
January 2019 winners were the Ballincollig Intermediate Hurling Team followed by Neil Sargent, founder of the Midleton Karate Club in February and Women’s Single Sculls World Champion Sanita Puspure in March. In April, Cheltenham Gold Cup winning jockey Paul Townend was honoured in his home town of Midleton with the Sports Award and in May the Award went to the Ballincollig Business Association. Last month the award went to the organisers of the very successful Ironman Ireland Event which took place in Youghal in June.


  • For over 40 years Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind has provided life changing services and support to people across Ireland with sight loss.


  • The organisation was founded in 1976 by Corkonians Jim Dennehy and Mary Dunlop, bridging the gap for mobility, independence and freedom for the vision impaired people of Cork and Ireland.


  • Throughout that time, the charity has consistently focused on innovation, to ensure that we maximise the number of people who can benefit from our services.


  • With headquarters on the Model Farm Road, the organisation has greatly advanced its knowledge and understanding of dog training, investing in state-of-the-art training facilities and developing programmes that deliver the best dog, at the right time, with the most suitable temperament to match their clients’ needs.


Key facts about Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind:

  • It costs over €5 million annually to provide our services.

  • More than 85% of income comes from sponsorship and fundraising.

  • The cost of each Guide Dog partnership (breeding, training and maintenance) is almost €53,000.

  • Breeding Regeneration Programme has increased the number of pups coming through by over 50% in 2018 and 2019.

  • Currently over 170 Guide Dog partnerships

  • Currently over 218 active partnerships for Assistance Dogs

  • 30 no. Assistance Dogs trained by the end of 2019.

  • For 2020 we are aiming for 50 Assistance Dog partnerships

  • Aim is to train 40 Guide Dogs per annum

  • It takes up to two years to train a dog (both Guide Dog and Assistance Dog)

  • Our waiting list is about a year for Guide Dogs and over a year for Assistance Dogs, however we need the funds and more Puppy Raisers to continue to increase the numbers of pups as we look to double the number of dogs over the coming years.


All Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind programmes are offered free of charge, with intensive support and aftercare available to all clients. Services include:

  • The Guide Dog Programme for people who are blind or vision impaired

  • The Assistance Dog Programme for families of children with autism

  • Orientation and Mobility Training (Long Cane)

  • Independent Living Skills Training

  • The Child Mobility Programme


  • In September 2018, University College Cork awarded Jim Dennehy with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws in recognition of the hugely positive impact the charity he co-founded in Ireland, with Cork woman Mary Dunlop, has had on service users. "When I was young blind people were hidden out of sight. Irish society didn't understand that someone with blindness could achieve so much, and often times more, than someone with vision."


  • John Shanahan, Guide Dog owner and chair of the Midleton Branch and who accepts the award on behalf of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind said, "Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind has given me total freedom to do as I wish. Without this service vision impaired people would have nowhere to turn to. It is vital that we keep this service going for many years to come."