A recent protest involving wheelchairs in Tipperary town highlighted the need for disabled spaces to be kept for those with a disability. Here, wheelchairs are parked in able-bodied spots on the Main
Cashel and Tipperary town need to improve their disabled parking facilities to fully meet the needs of citizens with disabilities, heard this month’s meeting of Cashel Tipperary Municipal District.
Cllr Martin Browne called for an assessment to be done in conjunction with the local branch of the wheelchair association on providing more disabled bays in Tipperary town and Cashel town and other villages in the area.
“These need to be based on Main Streets and as close to Banks, Post Offices, and Doctors’ surgeries as possible.”
Cllr Browne said there were about eight disabled parking bays in Cashel but “I’m quite sure that in Cashel, there are more than eight disabled people.” It is “absolutely crazy” that these disabled bays are situated so far from each, and other vital services, forcing people with disabilities to traverse long distances, added Cllr Browne.
Cllr Denis Leahy seconded the motion, saying there is a “very limited” amount of disabled parking, but they are “well positioned in my opinion.” “They cover the whole middle of the town (of Tipperary). We need to have disabled bays everywhere because, like us, they go everywhere as well. There should be no discrimination in any way.”
Cllr Tom Wood said some of the bays in Cashel need to be re-aligned and re-painted as they “very old”. However, some drivers who have a disabled parking permit, may be abusing the system by parking in the bays when they don’t have a disabled passenger with them in the car at the time. “If the disabled person is not in the vehicle with them, the driver should not take up a disabled bay. That was made aware to me by a disabled driver,” said Cllr Wood.
District Engineer Mr Aidan Finn said they are in constant contact with the HSE Disability Officer. “It was a pleasure to design most of the disabled bays here in Tipperary town,” said Mr Finn. At least one in 20 spaces is designated for the disabled and “as Cllr Leahy pointed out, they are in good locations.” A 2008 audit was carried out regarding street parking, pedestrian crossings, but “I don’t know if we have met the 1-in-20 provision in Cashel.” Cashel has a Gold Star for providing physical infrastructure for the disabled, which encompasses footpaths, ramps, and “drop kerbs”. The Circular Road at the back of the Rock of Cashel, was designed with the disabled in mind, added Mr Finn. “We all consider the Disability Act when building.”
District Administrator Marie McGivern said disability awareness co-ordinator Anne Bradshaw of the Gold Star Programme did “trojan work” in this area. Cllr Browne said he was only asking for a “small change” in the middle of Cashel. For example, there were “75” spaces in the car park across from the Catholic Church, but only one disabled parking bay, located in the “middle, rather than nearer the street.”