An open letter to all local authorities & the Irish government

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As of Monday 8 June, people will be allowed to travel anywhere within their own county while remembering to maintain the 2 metre physical distancing rule. Vulnerable, at-risk members of our society are still being advised that they need to remain home to be safe from COVID19 infection possibility.

In my last piece, I spoke about having taken my two sons – one of whom is profoundly disabled and very medically vulnerable – to the beach. Specifically, we went to Curracloe beach in County Wexford, which is our closest beach. As he is restricted to his own custom moulded wheelchair seating system, he can’t use the handy beach wheelchairs which are (thankfully) available for other people with disabilities to use.

This all has me thinking and I have a few ideas.

The vulnerable, at-risk population deserve to regain a bit of their normality, too.

Has anyone really stopped to ask how fair it is to ask them to remain locked away in their home while everyone else returns to their normal lives, even the new normal? Do only the younger and/or healthy members of society deserve to enjoy the parks and beaches?

Here’s a proposal for the county councils around Ireland:

What if we reserve a couple of days each month for only the medically vulnerable, at-risk members of our society who have been and are still cocooning to visit select beaches and parks?

I think it’s a very doable idea. I also think it’s fair and the least we can do to help those that are “cocooning.” Surely it’s not asking too much?

As for accessibility to beaches, I’ve been doing some research online since our visit to Curracloe last week and have discovered a few amazing accessibility items that I would strongly encourage county councils to consider purchasing for our disabled members of society to use so they can have equal access.

The first item is called a beach access mat. This enables people to remain in their own wheelchair to access the beach. Can you imagine the freedom that would provide wheelchair users? They could get close enough to feel the mist off the waves rather than stopping at the end of the boardwalk looking on at a distance. It would allow families to stay together on the beach and not leave their disabled loved one elsewhere. Imagine the beauty in such a simple solution.

There is also an item called a beach wheelchair dolly which enables a person to remain in their own wheelchair, be rolled onto this dolly, then tying down onto it securely as a beach accessible base. This would be used if no beach access mat, as described above, is available.

 

Can we do this small yet tremendously meaning thing for those who can’t readily access the beautiful beaches around Ireland?

Can we set aside a mere couple of days for those who are otherwise restricted to their home to visit a local park with only their family carer and others who are in the same situation as medically vulnerable members of our communities?

I know we can. The real question is, WILL WE? Let’s work together to see this happen for our country’s most vulnerable who will be isolating in their homes until a vaccine is found…and that may be a long time to come.

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3 thoughts on “An open letter to all local authorities & the Irish government

  1. Nicola Weldon

    This message needs to be heard by those who have the power to make change. Great suggestions by someone who obviously knows from experience what is needed and soon !!!

    Like

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