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Kelly – Disabled people must have access to all areas of daily life

12 February, 2008


New regulations that will ensure disabled people have access to all areas of daily life were laid before the Assembly today on behalf of OFMDFM by Sinn Féin Junior Minister Gerry Kelly MLA.

The draft Disability Discrimination (Private Clubs, Etc.) Regulations 2008, which were laid in draft before the Assembly on 31 December 2007, were today approved by Assembly members.

The regulations will ensure that private members clubs with 25 or more members are under the same duties of reasonable adjustment imposed by Part III of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 on providers of goods, facilities and services to the public.

Speaking from the Assembly chamber Mr Kelly said:

"These regulations are being brought forward by OFMDFM to ensure another gap in the coverage of the Disability Discrimination Act is closed. The Government is sending a clear message to everyone that disabled people must have access to all areas of daily life.

"Disabled people will now have more opportunities for socialising, networking and taking part in all aspects of life. Yet another barrier to disabled people having equal opportunities has been removed."

Private clubs will now have to make reasonable adjustments in three areas:

  • Any practice, policy or procedure which, even if unintentionally, makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled people to make use of its service must be adjusted.
  • Reasonable steps must be taken to remove any 'physical feature' which makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled people to make use of any service which is offered to private club members.
  • A private club must take reasonable steps to provide auxiliary aids or services if this would make it easier for disabled people to make use of any services which it offers.

The Minister concluded:

"Clubs have a special relationship with their members and it was important that we struck a balance between the rights of disabled people to participate fully in society and the rights of people to associate in private." ENDS

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