Oireachtas members last night enjoyed dinner blindfolded to raise awareness about the challenges faced by people with sight loss.
Dine in the Dark is an initiative which has been promoted by the National Council for the Blind in Ireland (NCBI) and the Restaurant Association of Ireland (RAI) to increase awareness of the challenges faced on a daily basis by people who are blind and visually impaired.
The dinner was hosted by Senator Martin Conway, who is himself visually impaired.
The fully booked meal included Ministers, TDs and Senators from across all political parties and is the first time in the history of the Houses of the Oireachtas that such an event was held.
Senator Conway said, “The NCBI’s Dine in the Dark event is a fantastic initiative that challenges people to go outside their comfort zone and gives them an insight into what life is like with vision impairment.
“Last year the event was a great success for the NCBI and this year I wanted to bring it to Leinster House and challenge my colleagues in both the Dáil and Seanad Éireann to this immersive experience.
“Dine in Dark forces people to challenge their thinking around sight loss and those affected by it.
“As somebody who has vision impairment myself, this event highlights the issue with key people who are involved in policy and decision making and ensures that they have a better understanding about the everyday challenges that people affected by sight loss experience in a relaxed and fun environment.
“In order to make a point you need to do something different. Currently five people in Ireland go blind every week, four of which are preventable with early intervention which is why awareness, through initiatives like Dine in the Dark, is vitally important.”