Kildare wheelchair parking space abuse campaign - 'Back in 5' - takes place in Newbridge

Irish Wheelchair Association raises awareness

Niamh O'Donoghue

Reporter:

Niamh O'Donoghue

Email:

niamh.odonoghue@leinsterleader.ie

Kildare wheelchair parking space abuse campaign - 'Back in 5'

Those involved in the campaign in Newbridge last Wednesday

There was an unusal sight in Newbridge last Wednesday, July 4.

From 11am – 12pm the Irish Wheelchair Association staff and service users took over a number of strategically identified parking spaces (standard parking bays) outside the Garda Station in Newbridge, on the Main Street in Maynooth and the Naas Access group covered the Main Street in Naas.

“This was achieved by using wheelchairs and other mobility aids for a short period only, to demonstrate to drivers what it feels like to lose your parking space, how it will impact on you,” said a spokesperson.

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“On the day we had support from Michael Hurley, Access Officer from Kildare County Council, Newbridge and Naas Access Groups, Apoca parking, Newbridge Tidy Towns, Newbridge Men’s Shed, Fiona O’Loughlin TD, Councillors Tim Durkin, Íde Cuessins, Bernard Caldwell and Mark Stafford, Sergeant Paul Mayock, Community Guard Aidan Macguire, North Kildare Carers Group, Maynooth Community Council and Service Users from Irish wheelchair Association Athy and Clane.”

The rationale behind this initiative is to encourage motorists to consider the consequences of using accessible parking bays when they have no valid reason to do so.

It asks drivers to consider the issues drivers/passengers with limited mobility encounter on a daily basis when the misuse of accessible parking bays occurs on a daily basis and how the actions of a few have major consequences.

The name of the campaign “Back in 5” originates from the throw away statement that people with disabilities hear on an all too regular basis when they confront a driver who has inadvertently parked in an accessible parking bay, “only running to the bank/shop, will be back in five minutes”.

“We would like to thank everybody for their support on the day,” said the spokesperson.