“As a wheelchair user myself, I know first-hand how our city and county councils have neglected to put in place even the most rudimentary supports to help integrate people with physical difficulties.”

Social Democrats candidates for May’s local elections have signed up to be advocates for people with disabilities by fully endorsing manifesto commitments promoted by the Disability Federation of Ireland.

Evie Nevin, the party’s local candidate for Cork South West said:

“The Social Democrats are committed to stronger and fairer communities. And that means prioritising the needs of people with disabilities who make up 13.5 per cent of our population. The diversity of our candidates and campaign teams include people with disabilities themselves as well as people whose family members have disabilities. All of our local election candidates are fully signed up to be advocates for people with disabilities if elected to councils across the country on 24th May.”

The calls by Disability Federation of Ireland are fully aligned with the Social Democrats’ existing policies and will be included in our forthcoming Local Election Manifesto. These are:

Accessibility – Make all local public services open and accessible for people who have a disability.

Participation – Ensure the participation of people with disabilities on local decision-making structures.

Planning – Make sure local authorities publish an implementation plan for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by 2020.

Ms Nevin added:

“As a wheelchair user myself, I know first-hand how our city and county councils have neglected to put in place even the most rudimentary supports to help integrate people with physical difficulties.

“On a practical level, a Council which adopts these calls will be focusing on issues such as accessible playgrounds, ensuring there is enough housing and parking for people with disabilities, designing street-scapes so that people with disabilities are not hindered by parked cars, bins, street lights and sign posts, and a thousand other ways to make it easier for people with disabilities to fully participate in their local community.

“The Social Democrats believe clear commitments to people with disabilities should be embedded in council strategies and plans including Development Plans around the country, and if elected we will lead the charge on this.”

Wicklow Councillor Jennifer Whitmore, Spokesperson for Children said:

“Inclusivity should be at the forefront of all that councils do. I am particularly passionate about inclusive play facilities for children and believe that when all children can play side-by-side, they learn far more from their peers than what any adult can teach them.

“This is the approach that Wicklow County Council and our local community used when we developed our inclusive playground in Greystones. To all intents and purposes, the playground looks and feels like any other playground, but it provides a unique opportunity for all children, regardless of age and ability to play together. This is the gold standard of play facility and should be the model that all councils should use.”

ENDS

18th March 2019