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Down Syndrome Ireland


As debate intensifies in the lead-up to the referendum on the 8th amendment, Down Syndrome Ireland have issued a statement, asking both sides of the campaign to suspend the use of images featuring people with Down Syndrome.

Referring to an article which was featured in The Irish Times on Tuesday, CEO of Down Syndrome Ireland, Gary Owens, explains that an image of a little girl with Down Syndrome was used in a pamphlet by a pro-life lobby group called 'Love Both'.

"This has come on top of a number of references appearing in the media over the past few days where campaigners on both sides of the debate are using people with Down syndrome to present their views," he wrote.

"This is very disrespectful to both children and adults with Down syndrome and their families. People with Down syndrome should not be used as an argument for either side of this debate."

While Mr Owens stresses the organisation's respect for individual opinion, he adds: "We are respectfully asking both sides of the campaign debate, all political parties and any other interested groups to stop exploiting children and adults with Down syndrome to promote their campaign views."

The statement reiterates its support of people with Down syndrome and their families, and reminds campaigners to adopt a respectful tone as the debate on the 8th continues.

Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordan has shared the statement on his Twitter page in a move which has attracted considerable attention on social media today.


Move over Lord Sugar! 

Nestlé Ireland staff are gearing up to compete in a fierce Shop Wars competition in a drive to raise money for Down Syndrome Ireland (DSI).

Two teams will take over and run two DSI charity shops in Dublin for one day this Friday 13th October with the team raising the most money in their shop crowned the winner. Besides seeking to increase average sales at the shops, Nestlé will also match the funds raised by winning team – all benefitting DSI.

The charity shop challenge involves two DSI shops, one in the heart of Dublin at the historic GPO and the other in the Dublin suburb, Kimmage.  Teams have devised lots of activity to attract customers including raffles, sweet treats and new stock.

People are being encouraged to come along between 9am-5pm to the local DSI store in Kimmage or the GPO Arcade to get a great bargain and support DSI. All are welcome.

Over 30 colleagues from across Nestlé Ireland’s business are involved using their marketing, in-store activation and shopper insight skills in an effort to get customers into the stores to purchase the items on sale.

The two teams have pulled out all the stops with preparations underway for weeks to make the initiative a huge success – with Team GPO even arranging outdoor advertising to draw attention to the special offers in their shop. Both teams have devised plans for in-store activities along with promoting the activities across their personal social media channels to raise awareness and encourage the public to get behind their team.

The Team Kimmage’s shop event is focused on Halloween with lots tricks and treats up their sleeve, playing on the spookiness of Friday 13th. Customers who donate €2 instore will be in with the chance of winning prizes such as; Sleeping Beauty panto family tickets, a brand new coffee machine, Life Style Sports vouchers and of course delicious Nestlé chocolate, sweets  and coffee.

To top it all off the team plan to have a special appearance from Big Bird to wow shoppers and will have an array of some of the scariest Halloween costumes for kids and adults this spooky season.

Team GPO team will be aiming to race to raise cash by offering pre-Christmas bargains. With the stock decked out for Christmas it offers lots of new stocking fillers to get ahead of the shopping rush.

Other goodies up for grabs will include; lots of shopping vouchers, gift hampers, plus sweet treats with each purchase made in store on Friday. The GPO team will also have a surprise celebrity guest appearance on the day!

Andrew Shaw, Country Business Manager, Nestlé Ireland (Team GPO) said; “Over the past number of weeks the two teams have been planning and scheming how to win the challenge. It has created a healthy competitive spirit as each team seeks to be the winner to raise the most funds for Down Syndrome Ireland. 

I’m sure the atmosphere in both shops will be electric on the day with spot prizes, raffles, goodie bags, coffee and confectionery along with a guest appearance from Big Bird promised, being used to drive footfall into the shops! The passion and commitment by colleagues will hopefully raise significant funds for DSI.”

Nestlé’s employees in Ireland have committed to raise €70,000 for Down Syndrome Ireland (DSI) in a two year staff Charity of the Year partnership announced earlier this year, which is absolutely amazing. 

The partnership will involve over 700 employees from Nestlé Ireland, Citywest and Nestlé's Wyeth Nutrition infant formula plant in Askeaton, Co. Limerick raising funds to benefit the services and supports provided by DSI for families with Down syndrome.

DSI supports over 3,500 members across Ireland through its specialist services in healthcare, education, early development, speech and language therapy and independence.


Michael Flatley was joined by gorgeous girls Grace Prendergast, 4, and Ava Ann Barry, 5, in support of the HB Hazelbrook Farm Ice Cream Fundays Campaign in aid of Down Syndrome Ireland.

Michael is now part of a long-list of Irish celebrities who have come out to support this wholly worthy cause. Others include Pierce Brosnan, Miriam O’Callaghan, Rachel Allen, and Ryan Turbridy.

Last weekend, Irish actress and presenter Caroline Morahan was also raising awareness of the campaign.

“I’m delighted to support such a fun and special campaign to help raise much-needed funds for Down Syndrome Ireland… Hosting an ice cream party is a great way to enjoy some quality time with your family and friends while helping raise money for the worthy cause,” Caroline said at the time.

The Ice Cream Funday is a really enjoyable way to raise money for something so important.

You can invite your friends and family over and force-feed them ice cream till they drop (and who can say no to that!). In return, simply ask your guests to donate what they can towards Down Syndrome Ireland.

To get your Ice Cream Funday pack call 1890 373737, or register online at Down Syndrome Ireland. The pack includes ice cream vouchers too.



HB Fundays - Editorial Header2015 is the 13th year that HB Hazelbrook Farm has supported the Ice Cream Fundays campaign, helping to raise more than €3million for Down Syndrome Ireland over that period.

HB DSI Ice Cream Fundays  09Last year, 1,020 parties across Ireland saw 142,442 people participate in the campaign and enjoy free HB Hazelbrook Farm ice cream.

The campaign is a vital source of funding for the development of Down Syndrome Ireland’s nationwide support services to their members, families and organisations, which are in huge demand and under resourced.

The monies raised help to fund core services in the areas of Early Development, Education, Health, Speech and Language Therapy and Independence to members of DSI and the professional community connected by Down Syndrome.

Organise your very own ice cream party this summer to raise much needed funds for DSI.

Click here for everything you will need to organise your HB Hazelbrook Farm Ice Cream Fundays party.