Disabled accessibility measures for beaches

by Emma Nolan
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KILLINEY, Sandycove and Seapoint beaches are to be made accessible for everyone as new disabled accessibility measures are to be put in place.

At the council meeting last Tuesday night, Dun Laoghaire Council voted to allocate provisions in the 2018 budget to improve beach accessibility for wheelchair users.

Killiney, Sandycove and Seapoint beaches will all enjoy upgrades which will improve disabled accessibility.

It is proposed that infrastructural works at the three locations will get underway to upgrade ramps and walkways and potentially extending walkways out to the sea.

Following these improvements, it is hoped that specialised beach wheelchairs will be available on at least one of the beaches in time for summer 2018.

Speaking after the meeting Cllr Dave O’Keeffe (PBP) said: “This is a much-welcomed step toward equality for people with disabilities in our area.

“We have been campaigning for improved beach access for wheelchair users for a number of years and this positive budget addition will allow many wheelchair users of Dun Laoghaire to enjoy an amenity that many would take for granted.”

He added: “Although this is a fantastic step in the right direction and it should be applauded, we are still waiting for the Government to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

“The convention was signed over a decade ago but has yet to be ratified.”

Similar measures have been already introduced in Fingal County Council, where specialist beach wheelchairs are available at South Strand, Skerries, Velvet Strand, Portmarnock and most recently, Balcarrick Beach in Donabate.

The plans were warmly welcomed by local man Sean O’Kelly. A full-time wheelchair user from Dalkey, Sean said making the beaches accessible is great progress.

He said: “I hugely welcome the plans to make the beaches more accessible. I don’t usually like going to the beach because of how difficult it is to get to, but this will definitely entice me to go now.

“As a child, I used to love going to Sandycove beach, but I haven’t been there in a long time, simply because it isn’t accessible, but this is progress.”

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