Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Disability Margaret Murphy O’Mahony says a greater emphasis should be placed on making public transport accessible for people with disabilities.
Deputy Murphy O’Mahony made the comments following media reports which highlight that wheelchair users cannot access many public bus routes. This situation arises as the bus drivers have not been trained to use the wheelchair ramps on their buses.
Deputy Murphy O’Mahony said, “I’m dismayed at reports that only a small proportion of bus drivers have been trained to operator wheelchair lifts on coaches. This is extremely disappointing given that a significant sum of money has been spent on making buses fully wheelchair accessible. It makes no sense to spend money on these wheelchair lifts if follow up training is not provided to bus drivers.
“This situation is grossly unfair on people with disabilities. These people want to live full and independent lives. The state should be facilitating them to do so. Instead we have a situation where people with disabilities cannot access basic transport services, despite the fact that the infrastructure is in place to allow them to do so.
“The Government can rectify this situation by providing the necessary training to bus drivers. I’m calling on the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross to address this issue as a matter of urgency. People with disabilities have as much right as anyone to access public transport. The state needs to accept its responsibilities in this case and treat people with disabilities as full and equal citizens.”