Josephine Carroll, Dermot Peters and Caroline Hoare highlight the problem of motorists parking in disabled bays in Cahir
Cahir has put the focus on people parking in disabled spaces.
The Tipperary branch of the Irish Wheelchair Association, in partnership with the HSE’s Tipperary Gold Star initiative, ASPECT Cahir and Tipperary County Council worked together with volunteers and other disability organisations to organise and run the “Back in 5” parking campaign.
The campaign is based on the Lisbon Experiment in Portugal in 2014, a protest event designed to show able-bodied people the frustrations people with disabilities face every day when able-bodied people park their cars in wheelchair accessible spaces without a valid parking permit or reason to do so.
The campaign was successfully piloted last year in Tipperary town.
From 9am until 11am, twelve parking spaces in The Square had an empty wheelchair parked in it or had mobility aids, rollators or walking frames with a notes pinned to the back with messages such as Be back in 5 minutes, Just gone to the bank, Back in 5 or Just running in for a coffee on them.
These are throw away statements that people with disabilities encounter everyday when able bodied people use disability spaces for no good reason.
The awareness campaign in Cahir is to draw attention to the abuse of accessible parking bays and to highlight the need for more accessible parking bays in the town centre.
Accessible car spaces are located nearest to building entrances or lifts to make it convenient for people with limited mobility or those using wheelchairs to access services. It is important that these spaces are not abused in any way.
The Irish Wheelchair Assocation greatly appreciate the support of An Garda Síochana in Cahir, along with the Tipperary County Council and all disability organisations and volunteers who supported the campaign as well as local businesses who were very sympathetic to the cause and of course people with disabilities and individuals who came along on the morning to show their support.
Many people commented on the day that they would never use a disabled parking space after witnessing the spectacle.
Well done to all involved, it was certainly a great way to get the message across loud and clear.