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Coleraine must improve facilities for the disabled

9 October, 2007

Coleraine Sinn Féin councillor Billy Leonard has said that facilities for the disabled must improve in the town.

He was speaking after meeting with members of the Coleraine Disabled Forum who carried out an accessibility audit on premises in the town. It confirmed that out of the 228 outlets audited, 34% remain totally inaccessible and 18% have significant scope to improve.

The Forum, which was helped by Action MS to resource the audit, is now campaigning for action to redress the situation.

Councillor Leonard said:

"This work presents straight evidence that must be heeded and I congratulate the local Forum and Action MS for the initiative.

"The Forum want to present their work to Coleraine Council and I am sure all Councillors will support that. But I think we must go further.

"I feel that council will address those premises which are directly their responsibility but we must recommend the report and the need for specific actions to other public and private bodies.

"It is clear from the report that there are organisations which comply with their 'disability duties' but some do not. If that is the case in Coleraine I am sure it is also the case in other towns.

"The Forum members who I met are right to point out that disabled people will bring their hard earned cash to other towns which are more accessible. They correctly feel that a town such as Coleraine should be a flagship for the disabled.

"I hope this is the start of an increasing awareness and actions that deliver greater accessibility right across the board." ENDS

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