Remarks on his Visit to Childvision,
National Education Centre For Blind Children, 11th September 2012
Is cúis áthais dom a beith anseo inniu in éineacht libh agus cuairt a thabhairt ar an ionad seo faoina ainm nua, Campas Childvision. Ba mhaith liom buíochas a ghabháil le Brian Allen agus le Sheila O’Mahony as an gcuireadh caoin agus ar ndóigh, libhse ar fad as bhur bhfáilte chroíúil.
[I am delighted to be with you here today and to visit the newly named Childvision campus. I would like to thank Brian Allen and Sheila O’Mahony for the kind invitation and, of course, all of you for that very generous welcome.]
It has been a wonderful privilege today to come here and to meet you all. The pupils who attend the Childvision Primary School are very fortunate to go to a school that fully gives real meaning to and embraces the meaning of the word inclusion; a school that acts on the principle that all of the pupils here are equally important and that all of you should have the opportunity to achieve your potential. Achieving that potential means being the very best you can be – whether that’s at lessons, or music, or being a good leader or a helpful team member or all of the other things you can do to make your contribution to the school, to your community and indeed to our wider society.
The students here are also fortunate because this is not just a school, it is also a real community; a place that doesn’t simply value a pupil by how well they do at their lessons, but also by how hard they work; by how well they treat each other; and of course by how much use they make of all of the individual talents they have been given.
I would like to compliment the Principal, Pre-school Head Teacher, the staff of the pre-school and Primary schools and the volunteers who work so hard to assist them. I also commend the National Braille Production Centre who play such an essential role in the education of the children here. It has been very uplifting for me to see how every member of the team here brings their own individual set of skills, experience and innovative thinking into their work as Childvision continues to develop new learning methodologies that ensure all pupils can access, participate in and benefit from the wonderful learning opportunities that are available. You should all be very proud of your work and commitment in ensuring that each child’s unique characteristics, interests, abilities and learning needs are accommodated and that the educational experiences for each child who attends Childvision are as good as they can possibly be.
The pupils too have much to be proud of. I am very impressed by the positive attitudes I have witnessed here today, and by all your achievements, including the beautiful pottery display I enjoyed viewing earlier and the excellent technology demonstration some of you provided me with. Being President of Ireland gives me an opportunity to meet young people all over the country and I am constantly encouraged and inspired – as I am here today – by their creativity, positivity and simple joy for life. Your school, your family, your community and your country need that enthusiasm and positive energy – so please keep it up.
Over half a century has passed since this school first opened its doors in 1960, providing a purpose built school for young people with sight loss. It has been a half century that has seen much positive change for people living with disabilities in Ireland. That progress owes a great deal to the work of citizens who came together to collectively advance the cause of equality and social inclusion. We know, of course, that there is always more work to be done as we seek to achieve a truly inclusive citizenship; a citizenship that will guarantee that every adult and child has a right to participate in society, to make their unique contribution and to be treated with respect.
We also know that positive transformation like that does not happen overnight. It happens because of people like those I have been lucky enough to meet today, people who have foresight, determination and imagination; people who can see beyond the false barriers and limitations that society purports to impose and who work hard to remove those obstacles, and to allow everyone to reach their full potential.
I would like to conclude by thanking you all for welcoming me so warmly to your school today. The values of cooperation, teamwork and progressive thinking that you have displayed here in creating a national centre of excellence for the education of children with Visual Impairment, are very aptly reflected in the new name for the campus.
Guím gach rath ar phobal uile Childvision san am atá le teacht.
[I wish all of the community in Childvision every success in the future.]
Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir.