Government Accepts Regional Groups Call for Comprehensive and Inclusive Transport Scheme for People with Disabilities

Only then will all people feel included and
none will be left feeling cast aside’ stated Deputy Lowry when addressing a Regional Group call
to address transport issues faced by disabled people across the country.

The call from the Regional Group, of which Deputy Lowry is a member, received unanimous
support across the House and the Motion was accepted by the Government.
‘The Primary Medical Cert needs to be updated and amended as a matter of urgency. The
application of the Primary Medical Certificate is a disgraceful shambles. Through my
Constituency Office in Tipperary I am aware of several people being disallowed access to the
scheme. It’s appalling treatment of people in genuine need. The rules governing the scheme
are outrageously stringent. The current scheme appears to be designed deliberately to reduce
the number of successful applications’ stated Deputy Lowry.

‘This issue of restricted eligibility which is so obviously curtailed led to the Resignation of
Disabled Drivers Appeal Board. Public transport, by its very name, must be made user friendly
for all users. Only then will all people feel included and none left feeling cast aside.
‘Denying or making it difficult for a person with a disability to access  transport with ease,
whether it be personal or public transport, increases the restrictions already placed on them by
their personal circumstances.

‘By failing to ensure that suitable means of transport are provided to meet the needs of
disabled people, we are robbing them of the right to live their best lives . We are subjecting
them to a life that able bodied people would not tolerate. Disabled people should not be
expected to tolerate it either.

‘Under the Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities 2015-2024, the
key aim was to ensure that people with disabilities, who are able to work and want to work, are
supported and enabled to do so.

‘Much has been written and spoken about equality in the workplace. However, very little has
been said about how disabled people are faced with innumerable challenges in getting to and
from their place of work. This is just one of the many hidden discriminations that disabled
people face. An able bodied person is seldom if ever asked how they will navigate the work
journey during a job interview, therefore it may be deemed inappropriate to ask a disabled
person that same question. Yet that does not mean that the issue is not on the mind of the

‘Disabled people who rely on public transport face countless issues. The first and most obvious
one is that, in Tipperary and in many areas across the country, particularly outside large urban
areas, they have no public transport option available to them.
‘While some transport companies have introduced modifications to a number of their vehicles,
they argue that the costs are prohibitive and the changes would benefit only a small number of
people. So the small number of people are cast aside.

‘This is not the only problem faced by disabled people who rely on public transport, again
particularly in rural or small urban areas. Information signs and timetables, if they exist at all in
many areas, are usually above the line of vision of a wheelchair user. There is zero access to
audio, video or braille information. So again, a small number of people are cast aside.
‘Disabled people who rely solely on public transport may envy those who can drive themselves.
Granted, while their car can be a lifeline and provide them with independence and greater
freedom of movement, their lives are also fraught with challenges.
‘Aside from the issues most people are aware of, such as limited parking availability and able-
bodied motorists taking up disabled parking spots,  one of the more recent obstacles facing
disabled motorists is that Electric Vehicle charging accessibility has been completely overlooked
in Ireland.

‘At the present time there are just four wheelchair accessible ESB Electrical Vehicle Chargers in
this country. The aim is to have a total of 50 multi-Electric Vehicle charger sites by 2023. That’s
50 places in all of Ireland where disabled people will be able to charge their car. 50 places to
serve the estimated 600,000 people in this country that have a disability. Yet again, a small
number of people are cast aside’