Labour Party candidate for Galway city council John McDonagh has said that more can be done to make Galway accessible for people with a disability, and playgrounds would be a good place to start.
McDonagh has said that while there are many good playgrounds around the city, more could be done make them inclusive for children with a disability.
“Playgrounds should be all about social interaction, and disabled children shouldn’t have to be watching the fun from the sidelines instead of being part of it,” he said.
This is not something that requires extensive investment he insisted, but can be achieved easily with proper planning by providing items such as wheelchair swings, wheelchair accessible roundabouts and equipment for special sensory areas which are available at a reasonable cost Mr McDonagh insists.
There are 30 playgrounds in Galway city under the supervision of the council Recreation & Amenity Department.
Several of those such as the Millennium Children’s Playground, South Park Playground, An Sean Baile playground, McGrath Field do include amenities designed for children with disabilities like inclusive rockers and swings.
McDonagh added that the city council should work with the Changing Places Ireland campaign to provide public toilets for people with complex disabilities.
Changing Places facilities are different from standard disabled toilets, which may not be sufficient to the needs of people with certain disabilities, and are designed to enhance the dignity of people who may need extra support or facilities during personal care.
The Labour candidate concluded by saying that it is time for the city council to put “accessibility and inclusion at the top of their priority list” and make Galway as welcoming a place as possible to locals and tourists alike.