Connect with us

News

Wheelchair users say more needs to be done for greater accessibility

Published

on

Wheelchair users Bridget O’Gorman, Aileen O’Sullivan and Bernard James with Séamus O’Sullivan, Mary O’Shea (Secretary of Killarney Access Group) and Breda Dwyer (Chairperson).

Killarney’s wheelchair users say more needs to be done to make the town more accessible – as obstructions on footpaths, the lack of suitable taxis, and the abuse of disabled parking spaces – were cited as their primary concerns.

Adam Moynihan

Although they welcomed the launch of a new strategy aimed at making Killarney a leading accessible tourism destination – they say a lot of work still needs to be done.

Speaking to the Killarney Advertiser, two wheelchair users who have both resided in Kerry Cheshire Home on St Margaret’s Road for over 20 years, acknowledged that progress has been made but insisted that the situation in Killarney is far from ideal.

“I’m not knocking Killarney or the services here, we’re getting better,” Aileen O’Sullivan, who has been in Killarney for 23 years, said. “But we’ve a very long way to go yet.

“I know we live in a tourist town but certain businesses have sandwich boards and furniture taking up half the path. I think certain people take liberties. I see it everywhere. I’m not saying that people aren’t entitled to do it, they are, but they should think of wheelchair users, mothers with buggies and the elderly.”

Bernard James said that it is a widespread problem throughout the town.

“You would go down every street but you wouldn’t want to be in a hurry,” he said. “If you had to be somewhere at 3.30pm, you’d have to give yourself plenty of time.”

When out and about, Aileen often has to take alternative routes to ensure her safety and the safety of pedestrians.

“I’m kind of a free spirit so I go out a lot – but coming up Rock Road you’re taking your life into your hands,” she said.
“The footpaths are sloped and if you meet a passer-by, they have to go out on the road. I normally go up by St Finan’s and through the hole in the wall down by Fitzgerald Stadium for the simple reason that the footpaths are more accessible.”

Both Bernard and Aileen agree that more wheelchair taxis are needed – but the biggest problem, according to Aileen, is the abuse of disabled parking spaces in the town, many taken up by large commercial bins.

The misuse of parking permits is also common place and this is a particular bone of contention for wheelchair users, they say.

“We have a very good ticket inspector now,” Aileen said. “She doesn’t take any crap. But more needs to be done.”

Killarney is hoping to position itself as the leading accessible tourism destination in Ireland but Bernard expressed concerns that certain establishments are merely ticking boxes.

“Nine out of ten hotels say that they’re wheelchair accessible and they are wheelchair accessible – up to a point,” he said.

“It depends on the size of the wheelchair. There are quite a few places in town that I can’t go into with this wheelchair. I’d be shifting the whole place to get from A to B, and I know damn well that I’d be entitled to do it, but by the time you’d get there it’d be time to go back the other way again.

“It’s the same with wheelchair bathrooms. They are, by law, doing it right and they’re covering themselves, but they’re not catering to all sizes of wheelchairs.”

Praising the work of the Killarney Access Group and the IWA, Aileen was optimistic that one day Killarney would be truly accessible for all its citizens.

“It’s a case of three steps forward and two steps back. But we’ll get there eventually.”

featured

Picture This announce Killarney gigs

Following on from being the fastest act ever to sell out the Gleneagle INEC Arena, with tickets going in under five minutes, Picture This have announced their only Irish shows of 2021 with a three-night run at the Killarney venue on December 16 -18. These exclusive gigs coincide with the release of their brand-new album […]

Published

on

0203047_Picture_This_Album_Shoot-8.jpg

Following on from being the fastest act ever to sell out the Gleneagle INEC Arena, with tickets going in under five minutes, Picture This have announced their only Irish shows of 2021 with a three-night run at the Killarney venue on December 16 -18.

These exclusive gigs coincide with the release of their brand-new album ‘Life in Colour’ set to be released June 25 via Republic Records.

“We are so excited to be playing at the INEC Arena this December,” Picture This frontman, Ryan Hennessy said.

“It is a place that holds many fond memories for us from starting out in the Acoustic Club to selling out the arena in record time. We have missed the atmosphere and the people so much and can’t wait to be reunited!”

Representing music’s biggest global underdog story, Picture This have unassumingly captivated listeners in every corner of the world, amassing nearly 300 million total streams, selling out stadiums, and inspiring praise from Billboard, ThisSongIsSick, and many more.

Their new album ‘Life in Colour’ boasts hits such as ‘Things Are Different’, ‘LA House Party’ and ‘Unconditional’. Thus far, tracks from the record have already gathered over 25 million total streams and counting prior to its arrival.

Tickets from €49.90 plus booking fees for these exclusive shows go on sale this Friday at 9am www.inec.ie and www.ticketmaster.ie.

Continue Reading

featured

Renowned chef to host men’s charity cookery demo

Published

on

To celebrate International Men’s Health Week, cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has organised a live cookery demonstration with renowned chef, Mark Doe.

It takes place on Tuesday next, June 15.

Open to all men dealing with cancer, the free Zoom cook-along event will take place from 6.30pm to 7.30pm, where the famous Just Cooking cookery school founder will share some of his expertise with participants.

Mark has chosen a simple marinated chicken in pitta bread with wedges and coleslaw as his dish of choice for the evening, and will be taking participants through the steps to create their very own meal via this live cook-along event.

“We wanted to do something special to mark International Men’s Health Week and we are honoured that Mark has agreed to come on board to host this exciting event,” Recovery Haven manager Siobhan MacSweeney said.

“The free event is open to all men who are dealing with cancer, not just our own clients, so we are encouraging as many men as possible to sign up for what promises to be a great, fun evening.”

Anyone interested in taking part is required to register in advance by phoning Recovery Haven Kerry on 066 7192122.

Once registered you will receive a Zoom link to join the cook-along on the evening as well as the list of ingredients you will need.

Continue Reading

featured

Loss of Kerry to Dublin route a “severe blow” 

  Ths loss of the Stobart Air Kerry to Dublin routes – which was announced yesterday (Sunday) that it’s to cease trading with immediate effect – will have a serious impact on the county, in particular the tourism and hospitality industry. Kerry Tourism Industry Federation (KTIF) is urgently requesting the Government act quickly on the collapse of the […]

Published

on

0203078_shutterstock1858756756.JPG

 

Ths loss of the Stobart Air Kerry to Dublin routes – which was announced yesterday (Sunday) that it’s to cease trading with immediate effect – will have a serious impact on the county, in particular the tourism and hospitality industry.

Kerry Tourism Industry Federation (KTIF) is urgently requesting the Government act quickly on the collapse of the airline and appoint a replacement.

The tourism group said that the loss of the routes is “such a severe blow to an industry that has been the most impacted by COVID for over 15 months and will take years to recover”.
 
Passengers affected are advised not to travel to the airport and to check the Aer Lingus website for updated information.

The Department of Transport is currently examining the implications of the announcement while Kerry County Council said it has full confidence in the future of Kerry Airport and will work closely with airport management to ensure the quick restoration of this key route and the future development of further air traffic routes into the county.

Minister for Education and Kerry TD Norma Foley said that she was “saddened to hear the announcement”.

“I have spoken directly on the issue with Kerry Airport and Minister Eamon Ryan and officials regarding the importance of the restoration of services, including the Dublin/Kerry route which is vital to the region. We are all committed to finding a pathway forward for the restoration of connectivity as a matter of urgency.”

The Government is acutely aware of the devastating impact that COVID-19 restrictions are having on the aviation sector.

By the end of June, the sector will have received approx. €300 million in State funding spanning employment supports, waiver of commercial rates and deferral of taxes. The bulk of the support to airlines is through the TWSS/EWSS wage subsidy schemes which were specifically designed to maintain the link between employers and employees. Liquidity support has also been made available by ISIF to large aviation enterprises.

This is in addition to PSO support of approximately €7 million per annum for the affected routes.

LIFEBLOOD

Tourism in Kerry generates €661 million annually, employing some 14,000 people. COVID-19 has forced 82% out of the workforce into unemployment. Tourism supply and support businesses have also been severely affected with thousands of employees out of work and companies struggling to survive.

“Connectivity and transport is the lifeblood to rebuilding tourism,” Pat O’Leary, Chairman of KTIF said. “The tourism and aviation sector is critical to the economy and viability of life in Kerry, it impacts on every household. It was the first industry to feel the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the last to recover. The Government can save vital tourism and businesses connectivity by moving swiftly and confidently appointing a replacement to service these crucial routes. Our thoughts are with the employees at Stobart Air, our colleagues in Kerry Airport and the tourism and aviation industry who are all working so hard on recovery and reopening plans.”

Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce said that Stobart operated the Kerry-Dublin service with great professionalism and customer care was always a priority, and that they wish them well as the face a very difficult time.

“Killarney Chamber won’t be found wanting in its commitment to support Kerry Airport and we have every confidence that John Mulhern and his team possess the ability, the knowledge and the determination to bring about the restoration of the service,” Niall Kelleher, President, Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, said. 

“Going forward, Kerry Airport will be critical to reopening the Kerry economy and we must all work to build on any opportunities that arise to provide greater access into the county. Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce is fully committed to help find a pathway forward for the restoration of connectivity.”

 

Continue Reading

Trending