A blindfold walk through Cork city streets highlights the problems encountered daily by those who are blind or vision-impaired.
The demonstration is organised by the Cork Safe Pavements Committee marking International White Cane Day and the launch of their report 'Keeping the Pavements Safe'.
This report finds there is general lack of awareness by sighted people to the needs of the blind and vision-impaired. Major problems included the placing of obstacles on pavements and motorists parking on pavements. Reversing cars are another difficulty as are litter and dustbins, street furniture, road works and scaffolding.
The walkabout takes 15 minutes. The blindfolded men are led by a sighted guide. After the walkabout Chief Superintendent Larry McKeon concludes,
If I was blind, depending on a white cane or a member or my family to guide me around I’d spend most of my time sprawling under obstructions.
For Lord Mayor Gerry O'Sullivan the blindfold experience was,
He discovered the pavements are full of obstacles and a journey through the city is hugely problematic for a blind or vision-impaired person.
I never realised it until I experienced it today.
Chairman of the Cork Safe Pavements Committee Pat Walsh explains the laws are clear about keeping pavements free from obstacles, however law enforcement is poor.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 20 October 1986. The reporter is Tom MacSweeney.