Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind actively strives to create increased awareness of the rights of guide dog owners and assistance dog owners amongst service industries such as hotels, restaurants, transport providers and leisure outlets.
We also liaise with representatives from local authorities and government departments to promote better design of the built environment. For instance, audible tactile pedestrian crossings and warning tactile paving are just some design features which we promote as they are essential to blind and vision impaired people.
We work to support and advocate the necessary changes to ensure all public places, services, goods and facilities are accessible to all our clients, including guide dog owners and assistance dog owners.
If you require information, please contact our Access and Education Officer on:
Lo-call: 1850 506 300
Traveling with a guide or assistance dog
Under regulation EC 1107/2006 (Rights of Disabled People when Traveling by Air), European airports must provide assistance to passengers with a disability or reduced mobility. Similarly, airlines must provide assistance to persons with reduced mobility on board the flight. Guide dogs and assistance dogs can travel with their owner in the air cabin (free if charge) provided the air carrier or its agent or the tour operator has been notified in accordance with applicable national rules.
Ireland and the United Kingdom are free of rabies. Consequently, there are no restrictions on guide dogs or assistance dogs traveling directly between Ireland and the UK; or on dogs leaving Ireland.
In order to remain rabies free, there are some restrictions on guide dogs, assistance dogs and pets (i.e. dogs, cats and ferrets) traveling in to Ireland from countries other than the UK. However, since 2004, pets, guide dogs and assistance dogs can now travel in to Ireland without having to go through quarantine. This is permissible under the EU Pet Passport Scheme.
EU Pet Passport
The passport is a document which shows the guide dog or assistance dog:
is travelling from an eligible country
has been appropriately micro-chipped
has been vaccinated against rabies
has been successfully blood-tested for antibodies at least six months before entry into Ireland
has been correctly treated for tick and tapeworm 24 to 48 hours before entry in to Ireland
Under the scheme, certain countries (EU and non-EU), transport companies and destinations are approved to accept guide dogs or assistance dogs. You may find a list of these destinations and carriers on the Department of Agriculture website.
Travel to and from a non-EU country:
Guide dog owners and assistance dog owners resident in Ireland who may wish to visit an eligible non-EU country, may utilise the EU Pet Passport to travel directly back in to Ireland. Guide dog owners and assistance dog owners who reside in a non-EU country and wish to visit Ireland may do so using a Veterinary Certificate. The Veterinary Certificate must be accompanied by the following supporting documentation:
rabies vaccination certificate with microchip number
blood test results issued by an approved laboratory with microchip number
Prior Approval Scheme
In some instances, the Department of Agriculture will approve the carriage of a guide dog or assistance dog on an unapproved carrier, from an eligible country, under a system known as the Prior Approval Scheme. You must contact the Department of Agriculture when seeking prior approval.
Your pet's identification and all of the passport/certificate details will be checked by your carrier, e.g. airline or ferry company. In the case of ferry travel, these checks will take place in France, before embarkation. Airlines will do their checks at the relevant Irish airport. The guide dog, assistance dog or pet is allowed enter in to Ireland without risk of quarantine, once it is established the guide dog or assistance dog or pet complies with all of the conditions of the pet passport system.
Guide dog owners and assistance dog owners are responsible for ensuring all conditions are met. You should always contact the Department of Agriculture for advice when planning to travel in to or out of Ireland with a guide dog, assistance dog or pet.
The Department of Agriculture has some exemptions in place to facilitate guide dog owners or assistance dog owners traveling in to Ireland. They are as follows:
(i) The guide dog or assistance dog may land in any airport in Ireland
(ii) The guide dog or assistance dog does not have to travel as cargo (manifested freight)
(iii) The check will be done on arrival, free of charge, in the airport
For further information you may contact the Animal Health and Welfare Office in the Department of Agriculture on:
Pet Passport Helpline Phone: +353-1-607-2827 or 1890 504 604
Pet Passport Fax: +353-1-607-2843
Getting an EU Pet Passport
Step 1: Micro-chip
As a first step your guide dog or assistance dog must be micro-chipped to provide identification. Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind ensures guide dogs and assistance dogs are micro chipped when they are in training. Before you travel, you should ensure your vet checks the micro-chip may be read by an appropriate scanner.
Step 2: Application form
Your vet should complete the passport application form and return the form to the issuing authority. The form can be downloaded from the Department of Agriculture website: www.agriculture.gov.ie
Step 3: Rabies vaccination
Your vet should then vaccinate your guide dog or assistance dog against rabies.
Step 4: Blood test
Once sufficient time has elapsed following vaccination (usually about a month but your vet will advise) your vet should do a blood test to confirm a sufficiently high level of rabies anti-bodies. If your guide dog or assistance dog fails this blood test, your vet will have to revaccinate and test again. This blood test is a requirement for re-entry into Ireland.
Step 5: Receipt of Pet Passport
Your guide dogs or assistance dog's passport, with certain details completed, will be sent out directly to your vet. When it is received your vet can then enter the details of the rabies vaccination and the blood-test results.
Step 6: Time limit
Six months must have elapsed after the date of the blood test before you travel in to Ireland. It is the responsibility of the guide dog owner or assistance dog owner to ensure the rabies vaccination is re-administered before the current one expires i.e. there should be no break in vaccination.