Ireland is still “miles behind” in the provision of services for disabled people, the father of a wheelchair user has said.
The lack of accessible spaces for the disabled most recently hit the headlines when wheelchair users found themselves unable to enter unaided the recently renovated Dún Laoghaire baths.
Aaron is a carer to his daughter and finds that lack of accessible public spaces has had a huge impact on their family life.
“My daughter, Sofia, is 17,” he told Lunchtime Live.
“So, we have had a few years of working with wheelchairs and getting around with accessibility issues.
“To be honest with you, the stuff that people take for granted like walking to the shops, toilet facilities - just getting around [on] public transport.
“We are miles behind other places and it seems like there’s been a failure of politicians and politics to address some of the fundamental problems that they have.
“Say toilets, up until this year Ireland only had like 20 changing place toilets and a changing place toilet is a bigger area with a hoist with a changing bed.”
Building requirements have recently been updated but Aaron added that most are still inaccessible and this “restricts where you can go” for a day out.
“I don’t know another area of society that has to shout and scream and campaign for basic services - you know?” he said.
“The [UN] Convention on the Rights of the Persons With Disabilities - Ireland was the last country in Europe to ratify it.
“That kind of gives you an idea where we stand.”
The aim of the Convention is to "promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity".
Main image: A wheelchair user. Picture by: Alamy.com