Limerick council pledges to improve access for disabled student

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

Shane Dundon cannot fit his wheelchair through the door of his house without taking it apart. Picture: Mike Cowhey
LIMERICK City and County Council has pledged to carry out works to improve access to the home of a Limerick teenager who has to take apart his wheelchair just to get in the door.

LIMERICK City and County Council has pledged to carry out works to improve access to the home of a Limerick teenager who has to take apart his wheelchair just to get in the door.

Shane Dundon, 18, and his mother Teresa went public last week on their seven-year wait for a ramp and other works at their home in De Valera Park, Thomondgate.

And an engineer has also assessed the state of repair of the house more generally after the family complained that poor insulation and damp were damaging their health.

The council confirmed that the Dundons’ latest application for a disabled persons grant had been received in January and approved on February 12.

“Limerick City and County Council’s housing welfare officer visited the applicant on the January 21, 2015 and recommended that the application be given priority 1 status,” a spokesperson explained.

“The council is in the process of going out to tender to complete the necessary works and this will take approximately four weeks.”

Shane, who is preparing to sit his Leaving Cert at St Nessan’s in June, passionately described how living conditions were affecting his exam preparations and also impacting on the health of his mother and sisters.

The teenager, who has cerebral palsy, was honoured in the Limerick Garda Division Youth Awards before Christmas for his inspirational example in being fully involved in his school and community, including creating awareness around suicide and mental health.

But he last week spoke of his own depression from putting up with problems at the house for years. He described injuring himself as he disassembled and reassembled his wheelchair at the front door.

Teresa, who has been seeking a transfer, now says she is happy to remain in the house as long as the council carry out improvement works.

Local AAA councillor Cian Prendiville said there were now “promising signs” the house would be made more inhabitable following an assessment by an engineer last week.

“They are drawing up plans now to make the house accessible and importantly to make it liveable as well. We need to keep up that pressure now and make sure those plans are followed through on and are funded. The reality is nobody should ever have been moved into this house, let alone somebody who needed a wheelchair-accessible house,” said Cllr Prendiville.