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22/10/2021

Prime example of how people with disabilities are inconvenienced by thoughtless drivers

Prime example of how people with disabilities are inconvenienced by thoughtless drivers

Today, Friday, September 24, is “Make Way Day”, a campaign that brings the disability and wider community together to consider the needs of people with disabilities in the public spaces we all share.

It is led by the Disability Federation of Ireland and is a unique collaboration across Ireland and the voluntary and local government sectors. But most of all it’s about people with disabilities.

An Garda Síochána says they will be “strongly supporting” the Disability Federation of Ireland on Make Way Day today and are urging drivers to be conscious of other road users, particularly those with impaired mobility and disability by asking them not to park on footpaths or use designated disabled parking bays without a proper permit.

Gardaí have issued 2,200 fines this year to people for the improper use of disabled parking bays and for parking on footpaths as part of Operation Enable.

"Please be conscious of the needs of others and remember that using hazard lights does not entitle you to park where you wish," says a Garda spokesperson.

Everyone can get involved. And everyone should get involved because thoughtlessness is the big issue.

A terrible top three of obstacles that stop people with disabilities in their tracks are:

Cars parked on footpaths
Bicycles illegally parked
Bins left on footpaths

Main Street, Carrick-on-Shannon recently.

‘Make Way Day’ is not about pointing the finger at local authorities, other agencies, or randomly scattered activism. The whole point of the day is making the public aware of an issue that is fully within their power to change. It’s about one impactful, coordinated and decisive day of action.

Leading the charge are people with disabilities, local authorities, and disability organisations armed with an online tool that was specifically designed for Make Way Day. “Hey, this blocks my way!” is our message.

So, today, obstacles that block the way and complicate the lives of people with disabilities 365 days of the year are highlighted.

Better yet photos and videos are taken and posted and shared on social media using #MakeWayDay21.

Access is the most basic of all disability rights. The public footpaths are for everyone and we can all agree on that. In a wider context, this one day focuses the mind on people with disabilities, their lives, and needs.

The event will take place this year on Friday, September 24th, 2021 with support so far from 29 local authorities, details here, http://makewayday.com/

The campaign was phenomenally successful last year, reaching over 1,000,000 people on social media and appearing on RTE news bulletins across the day.

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