Dáil Éireann - Volume 345 - 16 November, 1983

Written Answers. - Facilities for Handicapped.

247. Mr. Bell asked the Minister for the Environment if he will ensure that a clear directive is given to all local authorities and public bodies which come under the jurisdiction of his Department to ensure that any reconstruction work carried out on their buildings will incorporate suitable provisions for handicapped people; and if he will make a statement as to the plans his Department have now or will have on this matter.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. Spring): It is my policy to continue to encourage local authorities to have regard to the needs of the disabled, [2529] particularly in relation to access to, and facilities in, their buildings. A number of Departmental circulars already contain specific recommendations to local authorities in the matter.

The draft building regulations include standards to cater for the special needs of the disabled in regard to access and internal circulation within buildings. When the regulations are made, such standards will apply to new buildings, extensions to buildings and to changes of use of buildings, where appropriate. In the meantime, all those concerned have been asked to regard the draft regulations as if they had statutory backing.