Cllr Paddy McDonald (SF).

More disabled parking spaces sought

More disabled parking spaces are being sought for towns and villages in Cavan.

The demand comes on foot of a motion tabled at a recent meeting of Cavan County Council by Sinn Féin's Paddy McDonald who told chamber colleagues that seven out of 10 people with physical disabilities in Ireland have “little or no access to public spaces and amenities”.

A staggering two-thirds, meanwhile, continue to report difficulties in accessing public buildings.

Research, recently published by the Irish Wheelchair Association, found 77 per cent of people with physical disabilities still also face problems when using public pavements.

Citing Article 9 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which seeks to promote and protect disabled peoples’ right to live independently, Cllr McDonald said: “For many people with mobility issues, finding an available accessible parking bay can be an incredibly difficult, time-consuming, and frustrating experience. Often, it can mean a lot of searching and, in some cases, a wasted journey as the driver is forced to return home and try again later.”

The Bailieborough man noted recommendations that a minimum of one in 15 parking spaces be designated for drivers and passengers with disabilities.

“Of these designated spaces, one in four should be designed to accommodate large multi-purpose vehicles. The designated accessible parking spaces should be located at the same level as, and no more than 25 metres from the principal entrance to the building or buildings served by the car park,” said Cllr McDonald, explaining that recommended dimensions for an on-street parallel parking bay are 3600mm width x 7800mm in length, which allows for a standard 1200mm access zone either side.

There was, he said, a need to consult with people with mobility issues, and that the mantra for the local authority should be 'Nothing about us, Without us'.

“If we want to ensure a fully inclusive, equitable and accessible county, we need to be mindful not to exclude people with mobility issues from being active citizens in their own community,” he said, calling on Cavan County Council to increase the number of accessible parking spaces.

“People with disabilities should be able to access all facilities in their community but, in order to achieve this, we need more accessible parking spaces in our towns and villages,” concluded Cllr McDonald.

His motion was supported by Fine Gael’s Trevor Smith who raised confusion among disabled blue parking badge holders.

“They're allowed to park anywhere. I think that should be made better known.”