Sinn Féin and Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has described the results of a survey by the Irish Wheelchair Association, which reveals people with disabilities are effectively ‘locked out’ of public spaces due to failures to make spaces accessible as “wrong and unacceptable”.
The new research published by the association found that 77% of citizens with a physical impairment have major issues using public pavements, with parking, and pedestrian crossings. In addition, 66% struggle to access public buildings, healthcare, retail, and leisure facilities.
Teachta Crowe said:
“The detail of this survey is not surprising, but is still deeply disturbing. We are living in the 21st century but our society continues to isolate and exclude anyone with a disability or impairment
“Despite the rhetoric, the reality is that, if you have an impairment, you face unacceptable barriers in your day to day life, with the added reality that many of these barriers will keep them in poverty and reliant on state supports. This report also highlights in black and white the continued failures of central and local government.
“The consistent message that screams out of this report is that we must collectively do more to ensure all citizens can fully participate in society.
“Frustratingly, most of these issues are not new but decades old with campaigners highlighting them repeatedly to no avail.
“We have supposedly the agreement of all political parties and none, we know the standards we have to meet, but we also need to move beyond the promise of change so that our citizens with disabilities can have their rights recognised and enforced now.
“A change of outlook and mindset within every section of society is needed to make this country inclusive. Every government department needs to play a role in ensuring that.
“Every citizen should have the right to live a full and active life without exclusion whether that be in the areas of housing, transport, education or employment.”