Our structure involves two membership categories:

1. Basic Membership

(referred to as just ‘membership’, or involving ‘members’). Membership is open to anyone in Ireland who has a vision impairment.

All members have input into VVI’s decision-making process, including the guiding of VVI’s priorities. Members will receive email newsletter updates on our activities, and are invited to make contributions to newsletters.

If you wish to become a member, all you need to do is email your interest to, giving your name and local authority area (if known). Other contact details such as phone would also be nice, but are optional.

Note: membership is only open to people with a vision impairment, and will be revoked immediately if abuse is reported by a service-provider.

2. Reps

Where other groups have their core, trustees, board of directors etc., VVI has its group of ‘reps’. VVI currently has fifteen reps. Being a rep involves one or all of the following roles:

  • Representing VVI in consultations with statutory bodies (e.g., local government PPNs and service providers).
  • Membership of policy subgroups and contribution to our policy documents.
  • Also, ‘rep’ is an advisory capacity for individuals who have had a history/record of rights-based campaigning (bottom-up) relating to vision impairment.

Currently, while we bed down, effectively, being a rep is by invitation only, but people can invite themselves if they offer their services in the above three roles, and if they satisfy the following four conditions:

  • VVI reps cannot be a representative, employee, board-member, or be in a leadership position of any Section 38 disability service provider, or any other DPO or “self advocacy group”.
  • Reps must agree with the prioritisation of the views of DPOs over those of service-providers.
  • Reps must agree with the prioritisation of perspectives of those with least ability, and solutions to be based on this.
  • Reps must abide by our constitution.

List of our Reps and Roles

All enquiries can be addressed to

Áine Wellard (Dublin City): Secretary of VVI, specialisations
include housing (including PPN rep on Dublin City Council’s Housing SPC), accessible communications, Climate Justice, Education, Health & Personal Assistance, Inclusion in Politics, the Justice System, Research, Outreach & DPOs, Travel.

Barry O’Donnell, (Kerry, Fingal): accessible broadcasting, Health & Personal Assistance, Education.

David Nestor (Galway, Meath): VVI rep on Meath PPN: housing, Travel.

Ed Harper (Co. Cork), agriculture, rural transport, rights of
older people, social justics and social inclusion.

Meadhbh Hennessy (Limerick): health and disability-related services.

Gerry Shanahan (Tipperary), VVI rep on Tipperary PPN Social Inclusion representative on the Infrastructure SPC of Tippperary County Council: Accessible communications, Travel.

Martin O’Sullivan (Dublin City): outreach, political Martin O’Sullivan (Dublin City): social inclusion and social justice, accessible communications.

Richie Sinnott (Wexford): Health and Personal Assistance, Housing, Travel.

Robbie Sinnott (Dublin City): VVI Co-ordinator/Chairperson and rep on Dublin City PPN, and PPN rep to Dublin City Planning SPC. Specialities include accessible travel and DPO rights.

Maria Rosita Apaza Machaca (Rose for short) (Dublin City): accessible communications, housing, travel, social inclusion and justice, and rights of access to the justice system.

Tim Culhane (Dublin City): accessible communication and travel (Dublin City).

Vincent Stack (Dublin South): accessibility (travel and communications).

Sandy Tomkins (Tipperary): accessible digital signage

Wesley Bourke, (Kildare): political participation, access to the
environment, socio-economic justice.

Mena Fitzpatrick (Wexford): accessible travel and communications.