Changing Places Ireland (CPI) could not have asked for a better way to celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities on the 3rd December with news that Minister of State for Local Government and Planning at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Peter Burke, TD, has signed new regulations that will require a Changing Places toilet to be included in certain buildings. These new regulations will mean we will see up to 80 extra Changing Places toilets nationwide each year in buildings or locations such as shopping centres, museums, galleries, cinemas, hotels, roadside service stations and heritage sites.
Karen Smith, CPI Steering Group member said “this is great news, it will give me more independence and opportunities to go out with friends and family without having to come home to go to the bathroom. It was a long time coming and good that we are finally getting the understanding and recognition that we so rightly deserve”.
CPI acknowledges the huge role played by families and disabled adults in making this legislation happen. Over 8000 people signed our petition on the regulations. Families all over the country contributed to the Department’s consultation process, sharing aspects of their personal lives to educate us all about the need for Changing Places toilet facilities. Acknowledgement is also due to the people who continuously champion Changing Places and the organisations and local authorities who are leading the way in installing them.
Aaron Daly, CPI member and father of Sophia, aged 16, a wheelchair user and one of many who require the additional features of a Changing Places facility said “we commend the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage on undertaking this essential step towards inclusion and accessibility in our communities and getting this legislation so promptly over the line. It will pave the way, in time, to much more inclusive communities.”