A Clonakilty disability-rights group is appealing to businesses to keep footpaths and public spaces clear this summer. Photo: Hector Falcon

The path to a safe summer

The Clonakilty Access Group has asked businesses using public areas to ensure access and safety for all footpath users as restrictions continue to ease.

The disability-rights group said footpaths should be kept clear of all obstacles so that wheelchair users, the visually impaired and anyone with any physical difficulties can pass in safety and comfort.

The group noted that the Government has said Ireland would have an outdoor summer in 2021, and that hospitality outlets such as pubs and restaurants would be mainly providing services in outdoor areas on or near their premises.

It asked businesses not to place items such as benches, tables and chairs, and advertising and menu boards on footpaths over the summer.

The group said it expects Cork County Council to enforce its own regulations and appealed to groups like the Clonakilty Chamber of Commerce, local vintners and other business associations to convey the appeal to their members.

“Like everyone else, people with disabilities of all types are delighted that society is beginning to open up and we hope the sun shines for everyone involved,” said a spokesperson for the group.

The Clonakilty Access Group welcomed the re-opening of society and wished all local businesses every success.

They further encouraged people to support local businesses whenever they can and complimented the Government and Cork County Council for the supports they have given businesses over the past year and a half.

Restaurants and bars in Ireland have been operating outdoor services since 7 June with hopes that indoor services will resume early next month.

Meanwhile, this week, an extra fund of €13 million was announced which will be spread among local authorities nationwide in a bid to encourage outdoor dining.

Cork is set to receive more than €850,000 of the new funding to be used for measures such as kerb widening, street furniture and pedestrian safety measures.

The funds are being released by the National Transport Authority as part of its national funding programme.