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Council disabling those with special needs

21 August, 2006

Responding to complaints from local wheelchair users in the Kiltalawn area of Tallaght, local TD Seán Crowe, party spokesperson on Social Affairs, has called for more access ramps in commercial and community developments. Pointing out that ramps were currently regularly blocked by parked cars, he went on to accuse South Dublin County Council of apathy towards people with special needs.

The Dublin South-West TD said: "I have received a number of complaints from local people in the Kiltalawn area of Tallaght who are being prevented from using shops in the local area due to an unavailability of ramps.

"In a number of cases ramps are regularly rendered inaccessible by people parking their cars in front of them, preventing anyone in a wheelchair from using the ramp. Complaints to the Council have been met with the response that it is the responsibility of the Gardaí to enforce parking laws. But the Gardaí in Tallaght are seriously over-stretched. There is only about a third of the number of Gardaí in Tallaght as there is in Limerick despite similar populations.

"There is a tendency in Irish society to view certain people, or groups of people, as disabled but the reality is that by not providing for the special needs of these people they are being disabled by the authorities and by Irish society in general. I am calling on South Dublin County Council to bring in planning changes to increase the number of access points and ramps for those with special needs in existing and new commercial and community developments. There also needs to be more effective and high visibility signage at the ramps to reduce the possibility of anyone parking there by accident."

Note to Picture Desk: Pictures of Deputy Crowe with local man Michael Coogan, who is a wheelchair user, available at the site of one of the inaccessible ramps.


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