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Clon campaigners welcome progress

Wednesday, 7th February, 2018 5:27pm

A group hoping to make a West Cork town easier for people with disabilities to get around have had some progress recently.

Clonakilty Access Group wrote to the local chamber of commerce last week requesting businesses not to place items such as signs, menu boards and furniture on the footpaths outside their premises.

This is because that they can cause problems, the group says, for people with disabilities, wheelchair-users and visually-impaired as well as buggy and pram pushers.

PRO of Clonakilty Access Group, Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin, said this letter was circulated to chamber members and that within a few days the group had noticed a reduction of these items on the footpaths compared to previously.

The next stage is for the group to make contact with Cork County Council with the view to introducing disabled car parking spaces in more suitable places in the popular tourist town.

This initial progress comes after a recent Clonakilty Access Group AGM where people spoke about the frustrations and challenges that people with disabilities have in the town.

Mr Ó Súilleabháin said: “Our vision is to make Clonakilty the best and most successful town in Ireland for people with disabilities. It about equal rights for everyone!”

Mr Ó Súilleabháin told the Cork Independent that since the renewal of the streetscape in 2014, there have been many issues for people with disabilities.

He said that the group had engaged with the county council during the planning and refurbishment of the streetscape as to what would and wouldn’t work for people with disabilities.

He said their opinions, while acknowledge by the council, were not implemented. Since then many people with disabilities are confronted with challenges on a daily basis in Clonakilty town centre.

These challenges include the camber of the new footpaths, the gradient of ramps on footpaths in certain areas and the loss of disabled parking spaces coupled with impractical locations of some of the current parking spaces.

Other issues include the locations of council-installed street furniture on footpaths and at crossing points. The committee will meet regularly and continue to campaign with the council, businesses, and those responsible for public buildings for positive change, so that everyone can traverse the public spaces of their own town comfortably and safely.

A Cork County Council spokesperson was unavailable to comment as of going to print.

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