'Back in 5': Limerick wheelchair users demonstrate impact of selfish motorists

Anthony Geoghegan

Reporter:

Anthony Geoghegan

Protest: Gabbie Ní Riain, from Ballysimon Road and Eileen Bourke, from Killalee Picture: Adrian Butler

Protest: Gabbie Ní Riain, from Ballysimon Road and Eileen Bourke, from Killalee Picture: Adrian Butler

MEMBERS of the Irish Wheelchair Association have protested in Limerick as part of the 'Back in 5' campaign.

The demonstration comprised of a line of empty wheelchairs occupying parking spaces on the busy William Street.

Ray Ryan, the programme assistant at the IWA, dubbed the behaviour of motorists wrongfully parking in accessible spaces as "inconsiderate".

"Imagine, even if it's just going to the bank or shopping in town you have to prepare beforehand and when you arrive you find someone on your space and they just say I'll be back in five minutes," Ray explained.

In the most recent census, 13% of Limerick citizens aged 19 and up were recorded as having a disability. This tallies to nearly 25,000 people who are restricted to using only 78 parking spots in the core of the city centre.

Ann Marie Broadway, a protestor from Vizes Court, explains that it’s not only the attention of motorists that the protest is trying to draw from.

“The council is also a problem, in High Street, even if I am able to find a space the footpath is still too high for me to get over.”

All it takes is either a glance at a protest, a taking of a pamphlet and a read of this article to think and help people who don’t have it as easy as we do.

“They need to just take more thought and put more spaces in the city centre, that’s what we’re trying to show, people need to know,” Ann Marie concluded.

Vicki Nash, from Newcastle West Arts, is hoping to take the demonstration to the county.

”I hear the same complaints in Newcastle West, and I just think the image of empty wheelchairs is so powerful it would really help,” she informed.