21st January 2020, National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) is highlighting that election posters hung too low can pose a real danger to people who are blind or visually impaired. This risk to injury along with how unenvironmentally friendly they are is another argument in favour of a national ban on election posters.
Kevin Kelly, Head of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns with NCBI says “At every election campaign, there are some candidates and their parties who show a blatant disregard for electoral law and in particular the safety of people with impaired vision. Election posters are required to be a minimum of 2.1 metres (7 ft) from the ground. Neither a guide dog nor cane can alert a pedestrian to a low hanging poster, posing a risk of a minor head injury. The NCBI has seen multiple examples where this requirement is being ignored in the race for votes. It is time for a national ban on election posters to eliminate this risk and reduce waste in favour of a greener environment”
NCBI has identified a number of key actions the next Government needs to take in order to transform the lives of the 55,000 people who are blind or visually impaired in Ireland. This includes:
- Ensuring all major eye clinics in the Republic of Ireland have a dedicated Eye Clinic Liaison Officer in each of their eye clinics to support patients to understand the impact of their diagnosis and to link them in with support organisations as needed. Such a system has been operational in Northern Ireland for decades.
- Make Ireland’s bus and passenger rail services equally accessible to people who are blind and vision impaired by delivering on the Joint Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport Report on the “Accessibility of Public Transport for People with Disabilities” in November 2018.
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