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Bairbre de Brún welcomes first disability-specific legislation at EU level

15 December, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has welcomed a report by the EU Transport Committee which has recommended increased rights for air travellers with disabilities, and has pledged her vote in favour of these important recommendations.

The proposals, which will be voted on today (Thursday) in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, will make have a very positive impact on the lives of people with reduced mobility throughout the EU. The legislation aims to put an end to discrimination against disabled air passengers, and is the first piece of disability-specific legislation at EU level.

Ms de Brún said that the proposals would mean people with disabilities should be able to accompany air travellers to and from designated points with the aid of lifts, wheelchairs or any other assistance required.

Speaking from Strasbourg Ms de Brún said:

"When I met with disability campaigners from across Ireland in the European Parliament in September of this year I pledged to support legislation at both national and EU level to remove barriers to full participation facing people with disabilities. Campaigners spoke in particular about the importance of free movement, access and choice which many of us take for granted.

"The sensible proposals contained in the Evans report coming before the European Parliament today are about increasing and promoting the rights of air travellers throughout the European Union. I particularly welcome the guarantee for the carriage of recognised guide dogs to and from the cabin for passengers requiring such assistance.

"One example of the need for such a regulation is the recent example when a group of blind and partially sighted passengers were asked to leave a Ryanair flight just a few months ago.

"Other important provisions in the proposed legislation being voted on today include the provision of information in alternative formats.

"I want to appeal to my colleagues in the European Parliament to support this proposal. ENDS

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