04 Oct 2022

Laois paralympic winners backing wheelchair access survey on Make Way day

Laois paralympic winners backing wheelchair access survey on Make Way day

Pictured at the launch of "Make Way Day 21" County Hall, Portlaoise were: Irish Paralympic medalists, Gary O'Reilly & Nicole Turner with Cllr Conor Bergin (Cathaoirleach). Pic: Michael Scully

We cheered them on as they made us proud to be Laois people, and now Irish Paralympic medalists Nicole Turner and Gary O’Reilly are set to highlight the difficulties that every Laois person with a disability can have, just getting out and about in their localities.

Laois is to be rated for wheelchair accessibility next week as part of a nationwide campaign called Make Way Day.

Our two Laois paralympians are backing Make Way Day 2021 and promoting the campaign to locals.

The top three problems in Irish towns are cars parked on footpaths, bins left out and bikes badly parked, according to previous surveys by Disability Federation of Ireland campaigners.

Make Way Day in Laois is on Friday, September 24, and residents of every town are invited to put it to the test and post their photos of obstacles on social media with the hashtag #makewayday21  

DFI has also developed a phone app that campaigners can download to test and rate their local area or 5k zone, showing how much harder it can be for people with disabilities to move about. The test will be available at on Make Way Day.

In Portlaoise, Laois Sports Partnership together with Laois County Council, the Irish Wheelchair Association and Portlaoise Active Retirement Group will conduct a survey on Friday 24th September at 11am. Meeting at Portlaoise Parish Centre, participants will be assisted with the completion of the on-line survey.

The Borris-in-Ossory Development Group is also conducting a similar event on the same day. MORE BELOW PICTURE.

Pictured at County Hall Portlaoise, for the launch of "Make Way Day 21" were: seated Gary O'Reilly and Nicole Turner. Back: Pamela Tynan (Community Section, Laois Co. Council), Dan Bergin (Laois PPN), Donal Brennan (Director of Services, Laois Co. Council), Carmel McNicholl (Sen. Executive Officer, Laois Co Council) , Cllr Conor Bergin (Cathaoirleach) and Margaret Conlan (Laochra Laois). Photo: Michael Scully

Make Way Day is supported by the Gardai for the third year and on Friday September 24, the Garda traffic division will adopt a zero tolerance approach to cars parked on footpaths. 

“Make Way Day” is a campaign that brings the disability and wider community together to consider the needs of people with disabilities in the public spaces we all share.

It is led by the Disability Federation of Ireland and is a unique collaboration across Ireland and the voluntary and local government sectors. But most of all it’s about people with disabilities.

The aim is to have all the 5ks or neighbourhoods join up, to give one comprehensive map of access in Ireland. Then to feed the coordinated results back to the right people and work together towards clearer streets.

Everyone can get involved by tagging #MakeWayDay21

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