Adams to introduce Dáil Bill to compel use of wheelchair accessible polling stations
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD will today introduce the Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2016 in the Dáil, the intention of which is to close a loophole in existing legislation and ensure that all polling stations provided during elections are wheelchair accessible.
Teachta Adams said:
“This is a common sense piece of legislation that addresses a problem which should never have existed in the first place by closing the current loophole that allows Returning Officers to provide polling stations that are inaccessible to wheelchair users.
“Whilst good progress has been made in recent years with regard the accessibility of many buildings to wheelchair users, it is bizarre that citizens can find themselves unable to avail of the most basic of democratic rights - the right to vote - just because they are a wheelchair user.
“During February’s general election there were, for example, 15 polling stations in Galway, 10 polling stations in Kerry, 5 polling stations in Carlow/Kilkenny and 4 polling stations in Dublin County that were deemed inaccessible to wheelchair users. That’s not acceptable.
“I would be hope the Bill can gain cross-party support over the coming weeks and it is my intention to write to the new Minister of State for Disability Issues, Finian McGrath TD today to encourage him to take second stage of the Bill during Government time so it may be debated as soon as possible.”