• Senator John Dolan

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SENATOR JOHN DOLAN TO BRING FROWARD PROGRESSIVE PRIVATE MEMBERS BILL THIS WEEK - four key disability inclusion issues included in the Bill 19.06.19

Senator John Dolan will bring forward the ‘Community Participation (Disability) (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2019’ in the Seanad this week, Wednesday 19th June.

 This Private Members Bill, PMB which Senator Dolan expects will have widespread support, has four key objectives as follows:
- To ensure that, into the future, certain large public and private sector service providers must provide a ‘changing places’ facility - referred to in the Bill as ‘accessible change facility’

- To ensure that local authorities will build playgrounds which are ‘inclusive’ to all

- To ensure that private bus operators providing a licensed service on a scheduled route will provide for adequate accessibility and

- To provide for the commencement of Section 5 of the Citizens Information Act 2007, which relates to the provision of personal advocates with statutory powers.

Senator John Dolan said today, “I was elected to the Seanad as a single focused candidate, having spent much of my life advocating on behalf of people with disabilities. Unusually this PMB spans the responsibilities of three departments, (Housing Planning and Local Government, Transport, Tourism and Sport and Employment Supports and Social Protection). This Bill is not centered on the functions of a particular department but on supporting day-to-day community participation for people with disabilities. It is a practical suite of measures to support Ireland’s recent ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, UN CRPD.”

Dolan continued, “Sadly, many people with disabilities have to go through the indignity and unhygienic experience of being changed on the floor of a public toilet as the correct facilities are not available in public places.

The Bill requires that ‘changing places’ be provided for within prescribed new-builds, material alterations or change of use, e.g., • Shopping Centre • Large Shop • Hospital • Concert Hall • Theatre • Swimming Pool • Motorway Service Station • Large Sports Hall • Airport, Rail, Bus and Ferry Passenger Terminal”

The Bill will also require local authorities and others to build ‘inclusive’* playgrounds applying the principles of universal design.
Senator Dolan said, “For a playground to be “inclusive” it must be designed using the principles of universal design* where children of all abilities can play together and the play equipment is developmentally appropriate for children with and without disabilities, “Side by side play”. All children from a family can now go to the same school, this will allow them to also play together.”

The Bill will require private bus operators, licensed by the state, to meet the accessibility standards of public buses. ‘This issue has been raised with me time and time again” Dolan said. “It is not acceptable that private providers, on a scheduled route, are allowed, by the State, to exclude persons with disabilities. This will change with the enactment of this Bill”

Dolan continued, “It is disappointing that Section 5 of the Citizens Information Act (2007) has not been commenced. This section requires the appointment of a Director to the personal advocacy service for people with disabilities. This will assist them in accessing necessary social services and to enhance their full participation in society. This Bill will ensure that the advocacy provision will be fully implemented”.

Ends