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Disability campaigner Joanne O’Riordan Caddies for Bluebird Care & Scott Hend at Dubai Duty Free Irish Open

Golfing event promotes access for all

The 2016 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at the K Club gave people of all ages and all abilities the opportunity to get close to the golfing action.

This year the tournament saw an extra special guest attending the Pro-Am event, which took place on Wednesday 18th May. Disability campaigner Joanne O’Riordan acted as caddie for pro golfer Scott Hend and amateur golfer Brian MacGoey of homecare company Bluebird Care.

Joanne is a criminology student in UCC and is only one of seven people in the world living with a rare physical disability known as Total Amelia. This means she was born without all four limbs and even though there is no medical explanation as to why this happened, Joanne or indeed her family has never allowed it to hold her back.

Joanne is a huge golf fan and was very excited at the prospect of acting as caddie for European Tour winner Scott Hend and amateur golfer Brian MacGoey.

“I’m super excited about being able to get on the course and keep both Scott and Brian focused,” said Joanne.

“And on a more serious note, all major sporting events as a matter of course should be fully accessible and audited for disability access. Disability and indeed reduced mobility can affect anyone at any time of their lives. I’m proud to be part of the 2016 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open to advocate for access for all.”

Managing Director of Bluebird Care Brian MacGoey and Joanne O'Riordan

For the fourth consecutive year the European Tour has partnered with homecare company Bluebird Care to provide event mobility services. Two accessibility viewing stands were built on the course which overlooked the 8th and 17th greens. The stands are accessible to wheelchairs and are specially built for people with reduced mobility.

Rory Colville, Championship Director of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, says:

“We have always tried to do everything possible to help people with disabilities or reduced mobility come to the Irish Open and enjoy a great event with a unique atmosphere. Our partnership with Bluebird Care Ireland allows us to do just that and we enjoyed working with them throughout the week to provide a first class service.”

Meanwhile, staff from the local Bluebird Care office in Kildare were on site throughout the tournament providing Personal Assistants, wheelchairs and mobility scooters.

Brian MacGoey, Managing Director of Bluebird Care Ireland, says providing access for all was the motivation for his company to get involved.

“We provide these services at very little cost to the people attending and charge nominal fees to cover outlays. We were delighted to be once again providing event mobility services to The Irish Open so that young and old, families and groups can get close to the golf. Ability nor disability should not be factors in deciding to attend and enjoying an international sporting event.”

The 2016 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation and won by Rory McIlroy took place at the K Club in Co. Kildare from the 19th to the 22nd May 2016. More information on the official website.

Photos by John Roche & David Dempsey

Caption: Joanne O’Riordan accompanying Brian MacGoey, Managing Director of Bluebird Care on a practice round ahead of next week’s Pro-Am at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at the K Club.

Media Queries

European Tour: +44 (0) 7880 601008
Frances Jennings, fjennings@europeantour.com

Bluebird Care / Joanne O’Riordan:
Joanne Sweeney-Burke, 087 6237373 / joanne@digitaltraining.ie