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Sinn Féin MLA welcomes user friendly cash machines for blind

16 May, 2005

Sinn Féin Disability Spokesperson and MLA for Mid Ulster Geraldine Dougan his this afternoon welcomed the installation of two cash machines in Belfast specially adapted for blind users under a pilot scheme. In welcoming this scheme, Ms Dougan said that 'much more needed to be done to facilitate people with disabilities within society'.

The hole in the wall bank machines which utilise voice technology, guides the user step by step through a series of audio commands allowing for easier usage.

Speaking today Ms Dougan said:

"I want to welcome the introduction of user friendly cash machines for those with a visual impairment. Sinn Féin has long campaigned and lobbied for more to be done to facilitate people with disabilities within society. People with disabilities are not just service users or dependents in need of care. They are a social group that face systematic discrimination, exclusion and disadvantage because we have failed to create a fully inclusive society.

"Whilst compliance with existing disability legislation is important, government, industry and commerce must use their own initiative to reach out to those who remain marginalized in society. This means ensuring greater accessibility, support and commitment to a rights based society. Indeed, during the recent elections, a significant number of polling stations were not accessible to people with disabilities.

"In welcoming this initiative, I am calling for the rollout of this pilot scheme throughout Ireland to ensure that each region is adequately serviced." ENDS

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