Galway City Council is supporting creating a national Make Way Day recognising the obstacles people with disabilities have navigating public spaces.
The Make Way Day campaign is the product of 14 different organisations who fight for the rights of people living with a disability, and marks the first time those groups have come together for a campaign.
Along with the Disability Federation of Ireland, some of the other groups behind the campaign are the Irish Wheelchair Association, Fighting Blindness, Enable Ireland, Arthritis Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis Ireland and many others.
The private motion supporting the campaign was brought forward by councillor Frank Fahy at a recent city council meeting.
It acknowledges that people with a disability have the same right to make use of public spaces as everyone else.
But badly parked cars, bicycles, billboards and overgrown hedges create obstacles that make it harder to get around in public areas.
These are obstacles for everyone, but are particularly impeding for someone in a wheelchair or with some other disability affecting their mobility.
The petition calling on the government to create a national #makewayday currently stands at nearly 12,000 signatures on change.org.
The campaign says that creating this day will send the message that, “we don’t want our villages, towns and cities to be obstacles courses for family, friends and neighbours with disabilities, we want them to be warm, welcoming and inclusive.”
Supporters of the campaign can buy stickers off their website to slap on badly placed obstacles in order to let people know they’re blocking the path.
Most obstacles faced by people with disabilities, councillor Fahy’s motion claims, are caused by thoughtlessness and a lack of understanding more than anything else. This event could help people understand the difficulties their actions cause other.
The motion passed quickly with unanimous support from the councillors.
Galway city council will write to An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, along with each individual Minister and Junior Minister asking for them to create, support and fund a national Make Way Day on September 26, starting this year.
The council will also support and promote a local #Makewaydaygalwaycity every year as part of a larger campaign.