Wexford County Council – Press Release – Monday 24 September 2018
Coming to the street where you live - #MakeWayDayWexford!
Wexford County Council is delighted to be among 15 Councils taking part in the first ever national MakeWayDay on Wednesday next, 26th September 2018. These local authorities, together with four leading disability organisations have come together to call for greater public awareness of the needs of people with disabilities and of the manner in which we all share public areas such as footpaths, open spaces, carparking and other public spaces.
Five disability groups and organisations from all County Wexford will be out highlighting obstacles such as:
• Cars or vans parked on a footpath blocking the way
• Bicycle/motorbikes chained to lampposts creating a trip hazard for a visually impaired person
• Illegally placed sandwich boards, forgotten bins, barrels and other obstructions
The people of Wexford can expect a friendly sticker on #MakeWayWexford Wednesday 26th September reminding everyone to make way for people with disabilities.
There will also be a blitz of social media posts (videos, photographs) with the hashtags #MakeWayDay and #MakeWayWexford. Upload your photos and videos and call for national recognition of #MakeWayDay.
The Wexford groups taking part include Irish Wheelchair Organisation, National Council for the Blind, Saoirse Training & Access Group and Community Workshop Enniscorthy and New Ross.
These organisations and their supporters understand that when people obstruct public footpaths and other spaces by parking illegally, erecting illegal sandwich boards, leaving waste bins out for prolonged periods etc. that no malice is intended towards those with a disability but that the hazard occurred simply through a lack of awareness and thoughtfulness.
Caroline Horan is Access Officer at Wexford County Council. Caroline describes MakeWayDay as an opportunity to overcome the public’s genuine lack of awareness of the needs of persons with a disability and open the public’s eyes to the extent of the everyday hazards that often greet people with a disability as they go about their daily lives.
“Make Way Day reminds us that 13% of the Irish population have a disability and their needs must be considered, particularly in the context of shared public spaces” said Caroline. “Bringing in your bin early in the day or clipping your hedge might not seem that important, but it’s a small action with a big impact for a neighbour who otherwise might not be able to get down the street.”
Local activist and disability campaigner, Theresa Carley from Wexford IWA will be out early stickering on Wednesday morning. “There have been days when I just had to turn around and go home because my wheelchair could not go around a parked car on the footpath. If you come across enough obstacles like these you eventually don’t want to go out at all, and that’s leads to social isolation” Theresa explained.
Background - Make Way Day 2017
The reaction to the first campaign was phenomenal. Make Way Day was viewed by over 750,000 people online and featured on RTE TV news throughout the day. A number of local and national radio shows, newspapers and online magazines also ran the story. Within 48 hours, 8,000 people had signed an online petition to make #MakeWayDay a national event.
Disability Federation Ireland circulated a motion to local authorities calling for them to support a Make Way Day in their area in 2018.
The campaign was awarded the Public Relations Institute of Ireland, PRII, Public Awareness Campaign 2018.
The participating charities are; Enable Ireland, Irish Wheelchair Association, IWA, Rehab Group and the NCBI, National Council for the Blind.
Check in to the site for updates in the coming weeks on what is happening where and which organisation to contact in your local area for media queries and to arrange interviews with local activists.
The local authorities taking part are:
• Dublin City Council
• South Dublin
• Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown
• Cork City
• Cork County
• Galway City
Photos: DFI can supply national photos but will not have photos from the 15 areas taking part.
The Disability Federation of Ireland is the co-coordinator of Make Way Day.
Media Enquiries to the undersigned are also welcome. Free to use image attached.
David Minogue, Head of Communications and Customer Services
Ceannasaí Cumarsáide agus Seirbhísí do Chustaiméirí.
Wexford County Council, County Hall, Carricklawn, Wexford Y35 WY93
Comhairle Contae Loch Garman, An Charrig Leathan, Loch Garman
Tel: 053 919 6000 Mobile: 087 7619555