Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor presents the NCBI Bursary to two students with sight loss

Left to Right: NCBI Bursary Award winner Peter Moore, Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor, T.D., and NCBI Bursary award winner Marianna Watchorn.

On Wednesday the 31st of January, Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor presented Marianna Watchorn and Peter Moore with the NCBI Bursary award in the National Council for the Blind of Ireland’s Head Office. This is the introductory year of the annual NCBI Bursary award.

NCBI is Ireland’s national sight loss agency and recognised the need for appropriate financial supports for young people who are blind and vision impaired as they progress in education. NCBI’s annual bursary is to the value of €3,000 per annum, with €1,500 available for a male student and €1,500 for a female student. This sum will be paid annually for up to four years, giving the students a total contribution of up to €6,000 towards their education.

In addition, NCBI will offer a 6-month internship to the bursary recipients annually, helping them to gain work experience and giving them a chance to further prepare for employment. While the total numbers of students with disabilities rose 4% from 2015 to 2016, the number of students who are blind or vision impaired actually fell by 10%. [1]

Chris White, CEO of NCBI: “We are delighted to introduce the NCBI Bursary for the first year this year. We are working toward breaking down the barriers that young people with sight loss face in progressing in education. It is NCBI’s hope that this bursary will help with the additional costs of living with sight loss for students moving on from second level and improve their opportunities. Well done to Marianna and Peter, two very worthy recipients.”

Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor said: “It is an honour to be invited to NCBI to present to very first NCBI Bursary Awards. Students who are blind and vision impaired have the same aspirations as other young adults and want to continue learning in Higher Education institutions. It is imperative that we are encouraging blind and vision impaired young adults to enter the workforce and reach their full potential, this prospect is greatly enhanced through further education.”

For further information on how to apply for next year go to


For more information contact: Róisín Maxwell, Communications Executive NCBI, / 012710127


  1. AHEAD, Numbers of Students with Disabilities Studying in Higher Education in Ireland 2015/16.