DUBLIN CITY Council is to spend almost €8 million this year on improvements to public buildings, parks and footpaths to make them more accessible to people with disabilities and mobility difficulties.
The improvements are part of a seven-year implementation plan to upgrade all the city's buildings and public spaces to meet the accessibility standards set down by the EU and by the 2005 Disability Act. The council is also seeking to encourage businesses in the city to make their premises accessible and last night launched a new website, www.accessdublin.ie, which will carry lists of businesses, such as hotels, restaurants, pubs and shops that are accessible. The information will be linked to websites in other countries to allow tourists to find accessible services.
The website will allow the public and interested groups to inform the council about areas that need improvement. It will also allow people to comment on the measures to increase accessibility. The information will be used by the council to audit its progress.
The council aims to achieve "universal accessibility" in the city. The upgrades will not just focus on the needs of wheelchair users, but on those with other mobility difficulties and visual or hearing impairments. The council will spend €3.4 million on improving public footpaths this year. Its improvements to public buildings will be carried out on an area by area basis and will concentrate on the inner city in 2008 with improvements to the Civic Offices, and nine public libraries at a cost of €3.2 million.
More than €1 million will be spent on improvements to public parks in the inner city this year. Improvements to road crossings, disabled parking bays, public transport and public lighting will be made on an ongoing basis.
The Irish Times