Limerick town to embrace ‘Back in 5’ awareness campaign

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

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normap@limerickleader.ie

Limerick town to embrace ‘Back in 5’ awareness campaign

The Irish Wheelchair Association's "Back in 5" campaign will take place in Newcastle West on Wednesday next

EXPECT to see empty wheelchairs in parking bays around the Square in Newcastle West next Wednesday as part of the ‘Back in 5’ parking campaign.

The campaign, which is being organised by the Limerick branch of the Irish Wheelchair Association in partnership with the Newcastle West Tidy Towns Committee, aims to raise awareness about the difficulties facing people with disability when it comes to parking.

“It is a huge issue,” a spokesperson from the Limerick branch explained this week. All too often, she explained, drivers who are not disabled or who are not driving someone with a disability will pull into a disabled parking bay for “five minutes” to carry out what they see as a quick errand. “They might want to run into the bank or get a take-away coffee, it might be something very quick but they don’t seem to see anything wrong with it,” the spokesperson said.

And of course, some people park illegally in disabled parking bays for much longer than five minutes making it more difficult for wheelchair users as there is less space in ordinary parking spots and usually no dish or dip in the kerb. 

“We are trying to highlight this issue,” she added.

The Newcastle West event follows on a similar and  highly successful event held in William St a number of weeks ago where it got a good response both online and from the passing public.

Next Wednesday’s awareness campaign in Newcastle West will run from 10am to noon, Vicki Nash, chairperson of the Newcastle West Tidy Towns Competition said.

Empty wheelchairs carrying signs saying ‘Back in 5’ or ‘Gone for the paper’ will stand in parking spots in the Square.

 “We want to make people who are able-bodied aware of what  it feels like for somebody with a disability to be left without a parking space which is taken by somebody else,” she explained.

The local gardai are supporting the campaign as are the council and the HSE, she pointed out. 

A similar initiative took place in Limerick city last month.