European Wheelchair Audit Sat. 30th June

Access for everybody ahead of 2012 EU Accessibility Act

A Europe-wide wheelchair survey was organised this month by the European Greens to show what obstacles people with a disability face in the public sphere. The local branch of the Green Party in Dublin 8 will carry out their survey this Saturday (30th) starting outside the Dublin Food Co-Op in Newmarket Square at 11:30.

We plan to walk through the main Liberties shopping areas of Meath Street and Thomas Street pushing wheelchairs and prams to see what obstacles are faced by wheelchair users when going about their daily activities. We plan to record details of unsuitable footpaths and surfaces and bring them to the attention of Dublin City Council using the http://www.seeclickfix.com service. We will also provide a report to our European Green colleagues so that they may compare us with similar cities in Europe.

The physical obstacles faced by disabled people, like gaining access to a school or work place, prevent them from participating fully in society and make them victims of social exclusion. Lower employment and education levels mean the poverty rate for those with disabilities is 70% higher than the average.

At a European level the Greens intend to put pressure on the European Commission, ahead of the presentation of the ‘European Accessibility Act´ later in 2012. It would set EU standards for products, services, and public buildings. For example, it would make it easier for manufacturers of assistive devices like wheelchairs or large print keyboards to trade across borders, bringing costs down.

“We are delighted to take part in this Europe wide initiative,” says Oisín Ó hAlmhain, local representative for the party in Dublin 8, “especially given that the voice of wheelchair users is not heard in Irish society, and many redevelopment projects fail to take them into account.  Improving the environment for wheelchair users also makes things easier for parents with prams and for older people with other mobility problems.”

“The European Greens want to make sure everyone in Europe can shop, work, go out and do all the things a full life has to offer, irrespective of physical ability”, said Green MEP Marije Cornelissen. “Social inclusion of all members of a society is not only a moral imperative, but an unalienable right of any citizen, as well as a basic requirement for a free, participatory, peaceful but also innovative and dynamic society”.

With this wheelchair-survey, the Greens are the first political family to hold a Europe-wide local action on this issue. Over 15 cities across Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, the Nederlands and the United Kingdom are participating this year in this innovative Europe-wide initiative.

“We stand for a Europe which guarantees all citizens the possibility to emancipate themselves, to establish their own lives in diversity and to participate in society”, said Cornelissen. “Citizens must enjoy equal opportunities and equal rights, and benefit from an active social policy and a robust social protection across society. These objectives are as important as the ecological and economic objectives: social welfare is a value, not just a cost.”

Information and images from will be available on our website at www.dublinsouthcentralgreenparty.com and at www.wheelchairsurvey.eu

More details on exactly what we plan to do is available from:
http://www.greens-efa.eu/fileadmin/dam/Documents/Events/Local_Councillors_2011/manual%20wheelchair%20survey%20final.pdf
And a short explanatory video is available here:
http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DdZa0nzT13T8%26feature%3Dshare&feature=share&v=dZa0nzT13T8&gl=IE
The event will also be part of “Just Do it Green Day” and our members hope to demonstrate their dedication to improving the Ecology, Equality and Economy of the world in which we live. Many other local groups have organised events in their own areas and it is hoped this will help to reignite interest in national Green issues.

Apart from energising our members, the day of action is aimed at demonstrating that the Green Party is as dynamic as ever and is still in a position to act on behalf of the Irish public.

A promotional postcard will be sent out by Party members to members of the media, potential new members and proven Green supporters. This postcard carries a strong message about what motivates us as members and the unique way in which the Green Party conducts its business free from corporate influences.

The Green Party is still active in Irish politics and is especially active at local level. In addition to Steven Agnew, our MLA in Northern Ireland, we currently have 16 locally elected Councillors across the island of Ireland, 5 of whom have served or are serving at Mayoral level.

The Green Party has always worked hard to make this country a better place in which to live, and we will continue to strive to achieve a sustainable and Green future for the many generations to come.

For more information, or if you would like to join us, contact Oisín Ó hAlmhain at 087 1736590 (or see contacts page)

About Oisín

Representative for the Green Party/ Comhaontas Glas in South West Inner City
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