‘Make Way Day 2021’

…highlighting the need for equal accessibility in county’s public spaces

‘When you’re using public streets you don’t want to see bins or signs or other obstacles. We’re not out to get anyone or blame anyone, we just want to inform people’

Make Way Day 2021, a campaign aimed at highlighting the need for accessibility in public spaces, was officially launched at the offices at Roscommon Leader Partnership yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon.

The campaign, which is led by the Disability Federation of Ireland, takes place on Friday, September 24th with support from Roscommon Leader Partnership, the Roscommon Access Group, and the local authorities.

Next Friday, members of Roscommon Access Group will take to the streets of Roscommon town in order to highlight obstacles such as cars parked on footpaths, bins, bicycles and restaurant menu boards which block the way and complicate the lives of people with disabilities and mobility issues.

Speaking at Wednesday’s launch, Mary Ganley of Roscommon Disability Support Group and Roscommon Access Group said the campaign was about informing people about the right to access for all.

“We have a list of issues which cause problems on footpaths, not just for those in wheelchairs or with disabilities but also elderly people and families with prams or trolleys.

“When you’re using public streets you don’t want to see bins or signs or other obstacles. We’re not out to get anyone or blame anyone, we just want to inform people,” she said.

Independent Councillor Tony Waldron is also a member of Roscommon Access Group and he said next Friday is an opportunity to raise awareness.

“This is the second year I have been involved with Make Way Day and last year’s campaign saw some success,” he said.

“We are doing everything we can to make a positive difference when it comes to accessibility. It’s about listening to people and finding a way of making life easier for them. I’m excited about this group and think it will make a difference”.

Fine Gael Senator Aisling Dolan said she was delighted to be part of the group and to share her experience of the accessibility measures implemented in her native Ballinasloe.

“Accessibility will affect people of all ages. There has been a real focus recently on funding for accessibility projects and I’m looking forward to Make Way Day next Friday,” she said.

Senator Dolan said dog fouling footpaths was another major issue for those in wheelchairs and said increased use of ‘poop scoops’ in public spaces could alleviate this problem.

The group also revealed it had met with the engineer in charge of the ongoing Public Realm Enhancement project in Roscommon town and was happy that a number of disabled parking spaces in key locations would be retained. It did however call for further enforcement when it comes to keeping these spaces free for those with disabilities.

Cllr. Waldron agreed that the group had been very proactive and had visited towns with similar works in progress.

Mary Ganley also highlighted the good work that has been done in terms of the Lough Ree ‘Access for All’ boat in Lanesboro and amenities in Ballinlough.

Mary and the Roscommon Access Group will once again lead the charge on Make Way Day in Roscommon next Friday in order to highlight the everyday obstacles that prevent equal accessibility for all on our county’s streets.

For more information, go to www.makewayday.com.