A call has been made to make disability a core part of the new Letterkenny Area Plan.
The call was made by local county councillor Jimmy Kavanagh.
He said that disability should no longer be an “us and them” issue and that the people of Letterkenny need positive change.
“There is an opportunity now when in the process of devising the new plan to make disability a central part of that plan.
“This is something I have requested from the planners in our workshops and it is something that I hope they will respond positively to.
“Disability has for far too long been an “us and them” issue. That approach needs to change and we need to realise that disability is about everyone, anyone of us are only a traffic accident, a fall or an illness away from finding ourselves disabled.”
He added that making disability a central part of the plan would also help greatly in supporting our efforts to have an age-friendly town, as many of the issues facing people with disabilities impact equally on elderly citizens, we could also in the process, help remove any stigma attached to disability.
He said “We should therefore make disability a core consideration in the planning not just of our buildings, footpaths etc., but also our social housing design, the design of our parks, transport facilities, walks, leisure facilities, etc.
“We should also be looking at making our workplaces accessible so that people with a disability are not excluded from applying or getting employment, our own public bodies could lead on an initiative to achieve this.”
Currently, in Donegal only 18% of people with a disability are in employment.
Cllr Kavanagh said that he has found on his canvass that the issue of young people with a disability both physical and intellectual, finding it extremely difficult to get employment is a recurring theme, even though in many instances these are well educated and very gifted people.
According to the 2016 census almost 23,000 people in the county has at least one disability.
Cllr Kavanagh added “Letterkenny and Donegal has a chance to lead the way in helping to tackle the issues facing the disabled, and we should take the opportunity that the new Letterkenny Area Plan presents to lay the groundwork for improved access and facilities for those with a disability.
“If we do that we will not just improve the lives of the disabled and elderly we will also enhance the lives of our entire community, by helping people of all abilities to thrive and contribute to the future development of the area.” Cllr. Kavanagh concluded.Tags: