East Cork Municipality Seek To Move Castlemartyr Disability Parking

By Seamus Whelehan

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A plan by Cork County Council to remove a disability parking bay for which they provided funding towards has been slammed.
The East Cork Municipality want to move the disability parking bay on the Ladysbridge Road close to the riverbank viewing platform in Castlemartyr, to help improve traffic management in the area.
The provision of the parking space gained Castlemartyr / Mogeely Community Council an inclusion award at the Muintir Na Tiera, Pride In community awards in 2008.
The change, which Council management says is to improve traffic movement at Castlemartyr Bridge, means the disabled parking bay is to be moved towards Ladysbridge.
They say the relocation will make right turning more efficient.
East Cork Municipality Officer Joe McCarthy said “it may be best to wait and see what is being proposed and then make your thoughts known.”
He said as part of the public consultation process planners do take the public’s concerns on board and have amended plans in the past to facilitate a legitimate concern.
Local Sinn Fein Cllr Danielle Twomey who is fighting to keep the riverside disability spot said “Cork County Council prides itself on being diverse and inclusive and their ability to cater for people with a disability. We cannot give this space up without a fight.”
“Somebody who needs medication cannot be forced to walk long distances. Other measures can be taken to open up the road. It seems to me they are taking the easiest option rather than the fairest.”
Liz Maddox a leading campaigner for people with a disability said she found the proposal “bizarre.”
The Castlemartyr Family Carers and Disability group spokesperson has claimed the move would “cause more harm and discomfort for the less abled by making it harder for them to enter the village. It’s not just a person in a wheelchair who are entitled to use disabled parking, the person may have limited mobility.”
In order to qualify for a disabled parking permit you must first meet strict criteria.
One of the conditions is that the person with a disability cannot walk more than 50 metres unaided.
Although local authorities have no legal obligation to provide parking bays for the less able-bodied, a certain number are available in prime locations throughout municipalities.
Under the village enhancement programme plans are to be drawn up, extending the footpath along the western side of the Ladysbridge road as far as the Coillte plantation adjoining the Castlemartyr Hotel.
Its understood plans are to go on display early next year with construction expected to begin in 2019.

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