Our friend and producer Olan McGowan is a very sociable type! But recently, up in the office, he was chatting informally about a few things he was supposed to attend recently, but couldn't, due to lack of wheelchair access.
The rest of the team were a little taken aback. Like most people, we were under the impression that every venue, or restaurant, or pub, or nightclub had to provide wheelchair access in this day and age.
But not so, it seems! Far from it! So if you have a family member, or a friend, or colleague, who is a wheelchair user - or if you're a wheelchair user yourself - listen up. Because Olan has been digging into the legislation surrounding wheelchair access, and he joins Derek in studio today to tell us what he's uncovered...
Various stairclimbers as described by Olan McGowan on Mooney this afternoon
We also decided to talk to some wheelchair users to find out their experiences. So researcher Michele Browne went to Dun Laoghaire where she spoke to Colm Whooley and Joan Carty, who are respectively CEO and counsellor for Spinal Injuries Ireland. She then went to meet another wheelchair user, Graham Bolger.
Some useful websites:
Irish Wheelchair Association Information Office
- http://www.iwa.ie/information 01 818-6488
- Irish Wheelchair Association are preparing to launch their updated set of access guidelines, giving practical advice as to how to make your premises more accessible. You can download the guidelines here: http://www.iwa.ie/information/publications
- Also available from the IWA information office is the Access Directory, a directory of companies providing equipment to make daily life easier for disabled people.
Assist Ireland is an arm of the Citizens Information Board, and they have an online resource providing information on daily living aids, mobility aids and assistive technology, along with a directory of products available in Ireland: http://www.assistireland.ie/eng/
The National Disability Authority
The National Disability Authority is the statutory body governing standards in this area. http://www.nda.ie/
The Equality Authority
For information about the Equal Status Act, the equality act and the employment equality act, you can contact the Equality Authority: http://www.equality.ie/en/
And we also received this e-mail into the office, from listener Dee:
My name is Dee Hoey and since 2005, following a brain tumor operation, I am a wheelchair user. I live in Bohernabreena, near Tallaght, Dublin 24. I like to go out and I have found, over the years, that it very difficult, when going out, to find an accessible venue.
I have started a blog, wheeloutandabout.wordpress.com of different restaurants, pubs, hotels etc. giving a brief review of what I have found. The blog has had well over 700 views and it is aimed at wheelchair users, but can be useful to people with buggies, walker users, people on crutches and if your generally less-able on your feet!