Social Democrats local election candidates today commit to minimum targets for fully wheelchair accessible housing in all Council social housing projects and for people with disabilities working in Councils

The commitment is part of a set of pledges in the party’s Accessibility Manifesto for Local Government  launched today in Dún Laoghaire by Catherine Murphy TD and local election candidate Dave Quinn.

The Social Democrats’ 58 local election candidates have also signed up to be advocates for people with disabilities by fully endorsing manifesto commitments promoted by the Disability Federation of Ireland.

Catherine Murphy TD said:

“People with disabilities should be at the heart of all decisions. Our councillors will prioritise the needs of people with disabilities. Accessibility should be a given in our local plans, services and amenities, but this is just not the case. We want to put a renewed emphasis on this issue.”

Dave Quinn, who is a board member with Inclusion Ireland and a parent of a young adult with disabilities, said:

“Accessibility and inclusivity should be embedded in every council’s strategies and plans, including Development Plans. In my own constituency, we missed a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate that Dun Laoghaire is an Age and Disability friendly town when we built the Lexicon Library. Over €34 million spent on it but it doesn’t cater for the needs of people with physical disabilities such as spinal injuries, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis.

“We now have a live opportunity with the €10 million redevelopment of the Dun Laoghaire Public Baths to live up to the principles of inclusion which Ireland’s public sector have agreed to with the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD).”

The party’s candidate for Clonakilty Skibereen, Evie Nevin said:

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

“Councils can do so much much more to make sure there is enough housing and parking for people with disabilities and that streetscapes are designed so that people with disabilities are not hindered by parked cars, bins, street lights and sign posts. There are a thousand small ways to make it easier for people with disabilities to fully participate in their local community.”

The party’s candidates’ commitments include:

  • Ensure that local authority offices meet universal design requirements.
  • Promote Make Way Day in each Council area.
  • Implement the National Disability Authority ‘Code of Practice on Accessibility of Public Services and Information provided by Public Bodies’ and the NDA Accessibility Toolkit.
  • Set a minimum of 7% of social housing to meet universal design standards.
  • Ensure that every social housing pipeline project demonstrates at Capital Appraisal stage the inclusion of a minimum 7 % of fully wheelchair accessible housing with higher percentages applying for areas of higher need.
  • Promote the uptake of adaptation and mobility aids grants to enable independent living for persons with disabilities – too many Councils don’t spend their full allocation.
  • Expand the number of playgrounds, pools, gyms, parks and green spaces and venues that are universally designed.
  • Ensure all future Council recreational projects include accessible changing facilities – toilets which include a hoist, adult sized changing bench and larger space for additional assistants, to ensure the health, safety and dignity of those with disabilities and mobility issues.
  • Ensure that each Local Authority meets national targets to incrementally increase the number of people with disabilities that are employed by the Council to at least 6% by 2024.

ENDS

19th May 2019

Putting People with Disabilities at the Heart of All Decisions: The Social Democrats Accessibility Manifesto for Local Government is available to download here.