Wheelchair users occupy spaces in Kilkenny City to highlight misuse

'Back in Five' campaign named after excuse offending motorists often give when confronted

Sam Matthews

Reporter:

Sam Matthews

Email:

sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

DISABLED PARKING SPACE CAMPAIGN

Sean Brennan and Eoin Phelan protesting on High Street PICTURE: PAT MOORE

Local wheelchair users occupied car parking spaces throughout Kilkenny City this afternoon to draw attention to their campaign to get motorists to stop misusing disabled car parking spaces.

Around 20 people involved in the Irish Wheelchair Association took part in the event on High Street and John Street. A statement from the group said the issue had become a significant problem in Kilkenny.

"With the increased volume of traffic throughout Kilkenny, an unfortunate consequence has been an upsurge in motorists illegally parking in disabled parking bays," it said.

"Accessible parking spots are very important to people with disabilities due to their size and access to amenities and facilities."

The group recently carried out a simple survey in the city of eight disabled parking spaces, and found two of them occupied by vehicles without the necessary badge. They also wrote to ten local carpark operators seeking data on how disabled spaces were monitored, but only heard back from two.

Today's campaign also aimed to remind motorists that it is an offence to park in a disabled parking space without an official permit. It derives its name from a common excuse offered by motorists confronted having parked in a disabled space: "only gone to the bank/shop - back in five minutes".

"Accessible parking bays are located near amenities in order for people with disabilities to access work, education, post office, shops, banks, and social events," said the group.

"There is no excuse for using a disabled parking space without a permit. IWA members have heard many different excuses and today we want to highlight to all drivers throughout Kilkenny that this is not acceptable."