5 August 2020
By Tom Collins
Mayor of County Cork, Cllr. Mary Linehan Foley visited Carrigaline over the August Bank Holiday weekend to raise awareness of the negative impacts that illegal and obstructive parking has on wheelchair users, older people and people with visual impairments.
Cork County Council, alongside An Garda Síochána and Cork County Older People’s Council, is appealing to motorists to respect accessible and age friendly parking spaces and is asking people not to park on curbs, double yellow lines or at hatched or lined areas.
The Mayor welcomed the ‘staycation’ trend this year noting that holidaying at home supports our local businesses, accommodation providers, beaches and tourist attractions. However, Mayor Linehan-Foley urged motorists to think about where they park:
“Wheelchair marked spaces are for permit holders. By taking such a space you are denying a person with mobility challenges the freedom to access their town, village or local amenity. Parking on curbs, footpaths or double yellow lines can also seriously affect the mobility of a wheelchair user, older person or visually impaired person. We all have a role to play in ensuring that everyone gets to participate in community life to the fullest extent possible, and I urge everyone to be mindful of others as they avail of the wonderful amenities on offer in Cork County.”
Chair of Cork County Older People’s Council, Liz Maddox advocated that the Council’s CARE message is observed by motorists;
“We have worked with Cork County Council to promote CARE in relation to older and vulnerable people and its core message – Consider, Assist, Respect and Empathise – applies to parking too. We all need to be more mindful of how and where we park and of how illegal or obstructive parking can have significant impacts on other people.”
Léan Kennedy, Advocacy and Policy officer at Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind says:
“We welcome this initiative and we ask drivers to park on the street, not on the kerb or pavement. Drivers may not know the danger blind or vision impaired people are put in when the pavement is obstructed by cars. It impedes their safety and mobility, forcing them onto the street amidst traffic which they cannot see”. Kenneth Walsh, guide dog owner, says: “When drivers park on the kerb it is very difficult for my guide dog to guide me around the car and back on to the footpath. It puts my guide dog, Marley, under stress as he tries to keep me safe amongst cars and cyclists”.
Mayor Linehan Foley and Chairperson Maddox were joined in Carrigaline by Cork County Council Traffic Warden Timothy O’Donovan and Inspector Ronan Kennelly of An Garda Síochána to shine a light on this problem. Also present to highlight the challenges posed by illegal and obstructive parking were local wheelchair user Alan Maye and Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind client Kenneth Walsh
Chief Executive of Cork County Council Tim Lucey congratulated all involved in raising awareness and echoed the sentiments of the Mayor in highlighting the importance of personal responsibility and consideration of the needs of more vulnerable sectors of society, saying;
“Through Project ACT, Cork County Council has invested significantly in its mission to ensure Cork County is a great place to live for all ages and abilities. Everyone has a responsibility to ensure that the whole community can benefit from the steps taken to enhance our towns and villages.”