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Community Participation Bill 2019 to Improve Inclusiveness across Ireland

Within Ireland, it can be difficult for a people using a wheelchair to plan their day out when accessible sanitary facilities are scarce in the area they are visiting. This can cause limitations on where and how long a person can visit a place, along with what they can do there. Under the current Building Regulations in Part M and the associated technical guidance document (TGD) M, accessible sanitary facilities cover; toilets, showers and changing facilities for wheelchair users, but does not consider the needs of a people who may require assistance transferring off and onto their wheelchair.

For people with disabilities who would require assistance, a fully equipped Changing Place is a necessity. Designed to include additional features such as height-adjustable benches and hoists, these changing places are useable by a wider range of people than standard accessible facilities. Unfortunately, at present, there are only 11 registered changing places in Ireland, 8 of which are located in Dublin. When compared to the United Kingdom’s 1,300 and even Northern Ireland’s 27 changing places, it is clear that Ireland needs to increase the number of changing places provided in the country.

To address this issue and improve Irelands inclusiveness by promoting the concept of Universal Design, a Bill introduced last month called the Community Participation (Disability) (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2019 aims to expand upon the existing Part M requirements. The proposed bill consists of four main points:

The Bill, which is currently before the Seanad Eireann, has the support of Minister of State for Disability Issues, Finian McGrath and all Senators as of the 19th of June 2019.

For further information on the Community Participation Bill 2019 click here.

Alternatively, if you need further information on how to make facilities or services  more accessible and inclusive, please do not hesitate to contact one of our team on (01) 415 12 85 or e-mail [email protected].