instructor Dave Keneally with students Geraldine Looney and Guide Dog Igan, Lean Kennedy and Guide Dog Higgins, Caroline Brett and Guide Dog Johnson, Joan Ann Brosnan and Guide Dog Katie, and Puppy Raising Supervisor Catherine Gallagher.

A protest is scheduled to take place in Killorglin tonight (Friday 19th January) at 6pm to support the needs of one of our Guide Dog Owner’s, Joan Anne Brosnan.  The protest, organised by Cllr. Damian Quigg has been arranged to highlight the difficulties caused to Joan Anne by the public parking in the Bus Stop blocking access to the bus she needs to commute to work.

This comes in the same week as we react to recent changes to pedestrian crossings as part of the College Green works in Dublin City Centre.  It forms part of our wider SmartStreets Campaign designed to highlight the need for the public to be more aware of their behaviours and how their actions may impact someone who is either blind or vision impaired or has another disability.

Speaking on today’s protest Lean Kennedy, our Advocacy and Policy Co-Ordinator  said, “When Guide Dog owners and long cane users repeatedly encounter blocked pavements, inappropriately or poorly parked cars in their locality, it can make their trips out for their daily activities unduly difficult. Over time a person may lose the confidence to go out by themselves.  Our SmartStreets Campaign calls on all of us to act responsibly whether it is parking or putting out the bins.  Kerry County Council has placed tactile paving to support Joan Anne to orientate however, what has been happening is people are parking across this.  This then causes a difficulty for Joan Anne with orientation.”

SmartStreets forms part of a wider campaign the organisation has been leading on for a number of years.  They have been calling for the establishment of an Inclusive Mobility Committee to advocate for national accessibility standards with regards the built environment.

Speaking on this work Lean Kennedy said, “The function of the Committee would be to ensure the needs of people with vision, mobility, hearing and intellectual impairments are addressed. In recent years local authorities are redesigning urban areas with the application of controversial Shared Space principles. The Inclusive Mobility Committee would work with local authorities to ensure the needs of people with vision, hearing, mobility and intellectual impairments are considered at the design and planning stage.”

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Learn more about the Smart Streets Campaign here or contact David our Client Services & Communications Manager at 021 4878 227 or email [email protected].