Local disability group warn of “unfair” accessibility audit

Credit: Access for All Galway

A review of accessibility in Galway City will be “unfair” unless the issues are fixed, disability groups have warned.

A motion to audit public realm spaces in Galway is part of the Draft City Development Plan that was released on 28 January.

The motion will see the public realm spaces in Galway City, such as streets and parks, assessed for accessibility for people with disabilities.

Lorraine Lally, a volunteer for the Galway branch of Access for All said:

“We support audits in Access for All because that awareness raising on the part of the professionals is very important.

“The audits are helpful, but unless you’re going to commit to changing things and updating them, it’s very unfair, and it’s not really correct because doing an audit is not good enough then,” she said.

Councillor Niall Murphy, who brought the motion for the audit forward, said that it would create a formal channel to evaluate accessibility in the city:

“You need one place where you have a list of these problems in the city that we want to fix, and I think an audit can do that.”

Cllr Murphy said that his initial motion included a commitment to fixing the accessibility issues found through the audit during the lifetime of the City Development Plan, but the clause had to be removed:

“There were concerns that we may commit to doing too many jobs and that will cost too much money. I would have preferred to keep that in, but I had to remove that to get the motion passed.

“If I had kept that clause, the motion probably would have failed, and I’d end up with nothing.”

Ms Lally said that “people with disabilities have a right to be included”, and that all projects in Galway going forward need to be accessible and inclusive:

“I think sometimes people think we want to change everything, we don’t, we want that awareness and accessibility and inclusion from the people who have control.”

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