Enhancing Equality Offaly joined in the Disability Federation of Ireland National “Make Way Day” on September 26th, 2018.
Enhancing Equality Offaly is a group that includes people with physical, sensory, intellectual, acquired, and emotional disabilities and local organisations.
The local organisations include Inclusion Ireland, Offaly Local Development Company, Offaly Public Participation Network, Laois Offaly Education Training Board, Clara Family and Resource Centre, RehabCare, representatives from the Centre for Independent Living, and the service provider, the Muiriosa Foundation.
On “Make Way Day” over 80 people gathered in the Tullamore Library and made eight teams to check the local community for things blocking people with disabilities from getting passed on the street.
Business owners were given a leaflet one week before to let them know of the event and the purpose behind the event.
Each team had a member of the Offaly County Council to join in the walk about Tullamore town.
The “Make Way Day” stickers were held up in front of the obstacles to show that they were stopping people from getting passed.
Over 200 photos were posted by the Offaly teams of items seen on the routes that could be considered obstacles.
Obstacles included lack of wheelchair access, kerbs that were too high, lack of cut kerbs to allow wheelchair access, bicycles chained to poles, cars parked on the footpath, uneven footpaths, doors too difficult to open, and many more.
Key to the day was the voice of the person with disability who finds his/her autonomy restricted by physical obstacles obstructing movement.
Each obstacle was recorded and a compiled list will be shared with Offaly County Council.
The Access Officer from the County Council will also be asked to attend an Enhancing Equality meeting to discuss the Council's commitment to physical access.
A follow up with business owners is also planned because the Offaly group wants to educate more people about this important issue.
You can view the pictures taken on the day here.