McGuinness calls for accessibility audit on outdoor seating schemes

Sinn Féin Councillor Conor D. McGuinness has called on Waterford City and County Council to undertake an ‘accessibility audit’ of its 2021 outdoor seating scheme to ensure that it doesn’t impede on people with disabilities or those with reduced mobility.

McGuinness said:

“The 2021 outdoor seating scheme is going ahead and will provide a relief to many businesses across the city and county. I have concerns however, about the impact of tables, chairs and planters on people with disabilities and those with reduced mobility. 

“I have asked the Council to engage with the voluntary bodies in Waterford that represent people with disabilities, or that advocate on their behalf, to get their input. There is an onus on the Council to conduct an accessibility audit at this stage, and to address any issues found during that audit. 

“Everyone should be able to use our public spaces and amenities, our footpaths and paved areas without facing barriers and obstacles, or the fear of falling. My concern is that the addition of street furniture, coupled with the current bad state of footpaths, could negatively impact on accessibility. 

“This issue affects people with disabilities, as well as some older and infirm people. It also affects people with prams and buggies. There has been a number of serious trips and falls in recent months and the Council is risking huge financial exposure by not addressing this issue now.”

The Planning Director Michael Quinn responded that his Department would engage with the relevant organisation to identify any difficulties that exist.