DFI Press Release for immediate release
Disability Group Halts City Centre Re-Development
On Monday 9 April, 2018 at Dublin City Council’s, DCC, monthly meeting, the Public Participation Network’s Disability Linkage Group succeeded in halting the re-development of a public space which was potentially dangerous for people with disabilities.
Today, 16th April, the Group will do a walk-around of this space; Sackville Place and Cathedral Street in Dublin city centre to prepare for a review meeting with the City’s Architect’s Office.
DCC, along with most Irish local authorities have enthusiastically adopted a trend towards “shared surfaces”. One feature of these spaces is no kerbs on pavements. This means visually impaired people are left without:
A vital indicator not to stray into the roadway.
- Their guide dogs are left without a cue telling them to stop walking into traffic.
These designs have also neglected to give wheelchair users points at which they can cross the road safely.
The Disability Federation of Ireland believes this case shows the real value that Disability Linkage Groups can have in protecting people with disabilities.
Such consultative disability groups number around 30 across the country.
The Dublin group want all such future decisions to automatically be disability proofed. This could be achieved by discussions with the Group at planning stage before they are submitted for Council approval. This is helpful for local authorities all over Ireland who are frequently unaware of the needs of citizens with disabilities.
“We want planners to talk to us first. This incident shows what valuable insights people with a lived experience of disability can bring to a planning process. It was pure luck that we saw the plans on this occasion,” said
Gerry Kerr of the Linkage Group.
“How can a new design fashion come before making sure people are safe and can get about?” said fellow activist Mick Keegan.
Robbie Synott said that he was “amazed” that even though the National Disability Authority recommend stepped kerbs, this is ignored in upcoming developments across Ireland: For example, College Green Dublin.