Dáil Éireann - Volume 633 - 20 March, 2007

Written Answers. - Services for People with Disabilities.

[1811] Mr. M. Higgins asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government his Department’s ongoing work with regard to the EU’s Barcelona Declaration; if Galway County Council and City Council have adopted this; and the action these bodies have taken since adopting this declaration to improve facilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10443/07]

Mr. M. Higgins asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government his Department’s ongoing work with regard to the EU’s Barcelona Declaration; the number of Irish authorities that have adopted these measures to fit the disabled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10444/07]

  Mr. Roche: I propose to take Questions Nos. 970 and 971 together.

The 101 local authorities which have adopted the Barcelona Declaration, as advised to my Department by the National Disability Authority, are listed in the table which follows this reply. Galway City Council and Galway County Council have each adopted the Declaration. Implementation measures are a matter for the individual local authorities. As required under the Disability Act 2005, my Department’s sectoral plan was approved by the Houses of the Oireachtas in October 2006. The plan, covering my Department, its partner bodies and local authorities, sets out national objectives and guidelines for access to public buildings, services, amenities, and information, as well as heritage sites and other facilities. The plan provides for a range of positive measures, including improvements to Part M of the Building Regulations, the introduction of a new Disability Access Certificate and the development of a Housing Strategy for people with disabilities. The implementation of these measures will promote and proactively encourage equal opportunities for persons with disabilities to participate in the economic, social and cultural life of the community. The sectoral plan also requires each local authority to draw up an implementation plan, by July 2007, on the basis of a detailed accessibility audit. The implementation plans, drawn up in consultation with organisations representing people with disabilities, will set out a programme of actions to give effect to the commitments and objectives contained in the 2005 Act and the sectoral plan.

Investment by local authorities to meet the needs of people with disabilities, and to fulfil their obligations under the 2005 Act, is being directed toward providing new or improved access to and within public buildings, amenities, streetscapes etc., including electronic equipment and adaptations, and towards training, accessibility audit work, improved access to information [1812] services, software etc. I am providing €15 million in 2007 to help local authorities and other bodies under the aegis of my Department to implement the National Disability Strategy, as part of a multi-annual funding programme, begun in 2005, which will continue until 2009.

County Councils

Carlow

Cavan

Clare

Cork

Donegal

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown

Fingal

Galway

Laois

Leitrim

Limerick

Longford

Louth

Kerry

Kildare

Kilkenny

Mayo

Meath

Monaghan

North Tipperary

Offaly

Roscommon

Sligo

South Dublin

South Tipperary

Waterford

Westmeath

Wexford

Wicklow

City Councils

Cork

Dublin

Galway

Limerick

Waterford

Borough Councils

Clonmel

Drogheda

Kilkenny

Sligo

Wexford

Town Councils

Ardee

Arklow

Athlone

Athy

Balbriggan

Ballina

Ballinasloe

Ballybay

Ballyshannon

Bandon

Bantry

Birr

Boyle

Bray

Buncrana

Bundoran

Carlow

Carrickmacross

Carrick on Sui

Castlebar

Castleblaney

Cavan

Clonakilty

Clones

[1813] Dundalk

Dungarvan

Edenderry

Ennis

Enniscorthy

Fermoy

Gorey

Granard

Killarney

Kilkee

Kilrush

Kinsale

Leixlip

Letterkenny

Lismore

Listowel

Longford

Macroom

Mallow

Monaghan

Mountmellick

Muine Bheag

Mullingar

Naas

Nenagh

New Ross

Passage West

Portlaoise

Shannon

Skibbereen

Tipperary

Tralee

Tramore

Trim

Tuam

Tullamore

Westport

Wicklow.