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On Dublin Live
22nd of July, 2019
Over 200 motorists fined by Dublin City Council for parking in disabled spaces in Dublin so far this year
The number of fines is on course to eclipse last year's total...
Read more: https://www.dublinlive.ie/news/dublin-news/over-200-motorists-fined-dublin-16628759
In The Irish Times
26th of July, 2019
Train station lift failures force wheelchair users to stay at home, say activists
Father of child with disability to stage protest over constant breakdowns
The “constant breakdown of lifts” in Dart and train stations is “exhausting and upsetting” for wheelchair users, forcing many to give up on going out at all, disability activists say.
A protest, organised by the father of a wheelchair user, calling for fully accessible train platforms across the rail network will take place at Clontarf Dart station tomorrow morning.
Bernard Mulvany says his daughter, Sophia (9), who has spina bifida has “less rights than her younger brother” to access public transport.
The protest is supported by the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) and the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA).
Since he began, over a year ago, posting updates on which lifts were not working across Dublin, he gets daily texts from wheelchair users and their families with their updates.
He had reports this week of lifts out of order at Clontarf, Connolly, Bayside, Clongriffin, Tara Street, Sandycove, and Seapoint Dart stations, as well as Dunboyne, Lusk and Rush commuter stations.
Out of order
Barry Kenny, spokesman for Irish Rail, confirmed lifts were out of order in Bayside, Seapoint, Sandycove, Killiney, Clongriffin and Connolly, adding they were due to be “restored this week”.
Lifts are necessary for users of wheelchairs, mobility scooters and buggies, to go to and from platforms.
At Seapoint station, where a sign blocking the lift says it will be out of use for “essential maintenance” from July 9th to 22nd, the lift was still out of use on July 24th.
To get Sophia to the northbound platform, her father needs to take her out of her chair, leaving it at the top of two flights of steps, carry her down and place her on the ground.
“You couldn’t leave her on her own on a seat because she could fall,” he explains. “So the ground is the safest place.” Then he must run back up the steps to get the wheelchair, worth €10,000 and Sophia’s only way of getting around, hoping it is still there.
“You might go try to get assistance, go try to get somebody to come and help, but not all stations have a station guard or even a ticket inspector any more,” he says.
“If you’re in a wheelchair and are on your own, a lot of people just give up on even trying to go out. You stay at home.
“Other times you could be on the train and get to your destination and find the lifts aren’t working there. It can be a huge trauma.”
Joan Carthy, national advocacy officer with the IWA, described as a “huge, exhausting and upsetting issue” for members that “a lot of lifts are out of order on a frequent basis and for long periods of time”, while Catherine Stuart, head of adult services with the CRC, said lift problems at stations could “cause huge disruption to community outings which has an impact on the schedule for the day and this can be quite stressful for people with autism spectrum disorder”.Both called for greater consultation from Irish Rail on issues affecting their members’ access to the rail network, while Mr Mulvany said “solid investment in upgrading all lifts” as well as “bringing rail staff back into the stations” were necessary.
Mr Kenny said lifts were maintained by a private, specialised company and most of the breakdowns were due to vandalism.
“We apologise for the issues experienced, particularly in locations where there have been recurring issues.
“We are confident that the works currently taking place will improve reliability.
“Separately, there will also be a more significant programme of investment in lift replacement over the coming years, which will see new and more durable units installed,” Mr Kenny said.
See more at www.irishtimes.com
In The Irish Times
27th of July, 2019
Wheelchair users protest over poor accessibility to rail network
Poor accessibility to Dart and other rail networks breaches the human rights of wheelchair users, disability protesters have claimed.
Congregating yesterday outside Clontarf Dart station in Dublin, where lifts are frequently out of order, the group demanded equal access to public transport services for people in wheelchairs or with disabilities. The Dublin Access for All protest was supported by the Central Remedial Clinic and the Irish Wheelchair Association.
Unstaffed stations and broken lifts mean wheelchair users often cannot access trains, or cannot get off, the group said.
“It is the equivalent of being caged or in a straitjacket,” said Seán O’Kelly (28), a disability activist who now avoids the Dublin commuter rail service “at all costs” .
In 2016, Mr Kelly was left on the Clontarf platform for half an hour while he awaited assistance. He said he was not told the lifts were broken, despite having called ahead. “I felt helpless and humiliated,” he said. “It is wrong that we have to beg for access to public transport. It is a basic human right,” he added.
Saoirse Smith (27) said she can never relax when taking the train, as she is “constantly worried” something will go wrong.
She recalled being trapped on a Dart at Connolly Station for nearly 20 minutes, when the staff member who was supposed to arrive with a ramp did not turn up.
“I felt like a burden to everyone, because people have places to get to too,” said Ms Smith, whose cerebral palsy means she requires a wheelchair.
The issues do not stop once she gets off the train. Due to broken lifts she has often travelled past the station closest to work (Blackrock) to Dún Laoghaire, where she would use the lift to change platforms before travelling back to Blackrock station.
Irish Rail spokeswoman Jane Cregan said lift issues predominantly arise from misuse and it endeavours to fix faults within 24 hours, although this can take longer.
“We apologise for the issues experienced, particularly in locations where there have been recurring issues,” she said. She added that there would be a “more significant programme of investment in lift replacement over the coming years”.
See more at www.irishtimes.com
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