Lucan Councillor Vicki Casserly, Fine Gael Supports Lucan’s Irish Wheelchair Association Back in 5 Campaign
Following her ongoing advocating and requests since September 2016, where Cllr Casserly called on South Dublin County Council to examine and pilot a new text alert initiative to report the misuse of disabled parking bays and to encourage members of the public to report offenders via a free text service. She is delighted to report, a pilot initiative will be rolled out in the coming weeks.
Non-blue badge holders who use the parking spaces can be fined €80. The new alert system will assist the Council in applying the fine to offenders and it would be a welcome initiative to counteract ongoing problems within our county. This will enhance Gardai Operation Enable and is a positive step for blue badge holders in our community.
In conjunction with this Lucan’s Irish Wheelchair Association in running a campaign “Back in 5” on Friday 29th June in Lucan Village, which is to emphasise a strong message of the impact of the misuse of accessible parking bays. Cllr Casserly and her son James of Team James are in full support of this very proactive movement for greater awareness for all our road users.
Background on IWA Lucan
Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) has a vision of an Ireland where people with disabilities enjoy equal rights, choices and opportunities in how they live their lives, and where our country is a model worldwide for a truly inclusive society. IWA works with, and on behalf of, people with physical disabilities to drive positive change in Ireland through the influencing of public policy, the provision of quality services that enable people with physical disabilities to live the life they choose and enabling accessibility to all aspects of society.
IWA provides services to support this in a number of areas including Assisted Living, Community Support Centres, Sport, Driving Tuition, Holiday Centres, Independent & Supported Living Units, Rehabilitation Training, Youth Services and Volunteer Programs. IWA is also a collective voice for people with physical disabilities.
The IWA Lucan centre was set up in 2001 and facilitates services to people with physical and sensory disabilities in the Dublin south and west areas. There are over 115 people availing of the services, ranging in age from 18 to 65. The Lucan Resource and Outreach Centre has dedicated services for younger adults between the ages of 18 to 35. This service has grown over the past 4 years with a great demand among young people with disabilities for dedicated services.
“Back in 5” Campaign
The “Back in 5”campaign is the brainchild of one of our network members. The rationale behind this initiative is to encourage motorists to consider the consequences of using accessible parking bays when they have no valid reason to do so. It asks drivers to consider the issues drivers/passengers with limited mobility encounter on a daily basis when the misuse of accessible parking bays occurs on a daily basis and how the actions of a few have major consequences.
On the day of the campaign, a busy Friday, IWA Lucan staff and volunteers will take over six strategically identified parking spaces (standard parking bays) using wheelchairs and other mobility aids for a short period only to demonstrate to drivers what it feels like to lose YOUR parking space, how it will impact on you!!!
The name of the campaign “Back in 5” originates from the throw away statement that people with disabilities hear on an all too regular basis when they confront a driver who has inadvertently parked in an accessible parking bay, “only running to the bank/shop, will be back in five minutes”.
The importance of respecting Disabled Parking Bays, were would one start?
If I get up to be somewhere at a certain time, I plan everything in advance, I turn up were I’m supposed to be and the disabled parking space is being used by someone who is not the holder of a parking badge. They think it’s only a few minutes till I pop in and out. So I have to search for a space were I might just fit to unload myself and my chair. I might not fit and have to keep searching till I squeeze myself in somewhere. Then you have to unload and transfer from the car to your chair which is dangerous when you are pinched in and don’t have enough room and your just hoping mid move you don’t slide and hit the mud.
By the time you’re out and in your chair the “just one minute parker” is back and wondering why you’re angry and telling you to chill its not the end of the world. They are not the one that’s late for their meeting with dirt on their clothes after falling and probably scratched bloody knuckles from trying to manoeuvre out of a regular sized parking space in a wheelchair. You’re just glad you’re not seriously hurt.
This is why these spaces are so important to me and others. People need to realise everyone that has a disability are different and need the use of them for different reasons. If these designated spaces are not available some might not even make that appointment and have to turn and go home.
Mairead Meehan – IWA Service User