Disability Federation’s Chief addresses the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport

December 13 2017, 12:19pm

John Dolan SSNO(2) 09_07_

Our CEO, Senator John Dolan, has called for party politics to be taken out of the equation when dealing with basic rights of those with disabilities.

Speaking at the Joint Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport, Senator Dolan said that Ireland must meet its commitments on accessibility of public transport for people with disabilities.

“I ask all public representatives, on behalf of the 643,000 people with disabilities, and the organisations who help them, to make it a priority to deliver an accessible transport service for those entitled to it.

“It is incumbent on Government and society to look after all our citizens. Public transport providers must make sure those with disabilities have easy access to buses, trains and trams. That’s what I and the members of the Disability Federation of Ireland have worked to achieve,” he said.

Senator Dolan highlighted a number of failures in the current public transport service.

Charging people with disabilities with free travel passes €5 per journey (€10 per return journey) to reserve a train seat, despite an EU regulation that prohibits this.Bus Éireann require 48 hours’ notice Monday to Friday if you require assistance to get on or off a bus. If you want to travel at the weekend, the latest you can request service as a wheelchair user is 3pm on a Friday. However, the EU regulations state that the passenger must only give 24 hours’ notice to the bus company. “Even then service is not guaranteed. We have information about one wheelchair user who has been denied service 20 times this year, because the bus was not accessible. There is not enough urgency being brought to this issue. Meanwhile people with disabilities don’t have their rights to free movement. All too often, the best response is an apology, but things don’t improve.”  Public transport, is not an end in and of itself. It is a vital connector of people to services and opportunities for community participation,” he explained.”