The Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) in partnership with Longford County Council held its ‘Back in 5’ parking campaign outside Longford Library this morning.
Based on the 2014 Lisbon Experiment, the campaign highlights the misuse of disabled car parking spaces in Longford town.
Those gathered this morning heard that the campaign aims to create awareness around the issue by placing wheelchairs in regular car spaces with messages like ‘Just gone to the bank’ or ‘Just popping in to get the newspaper’ or ‘Be back in five minutes’.
It is statements like this that are used by able bodied people who use accessible parking spaces without a valid parking permit or reason to do so, the campaign which attracted a large crowd heard.
Members of the IWA ere in attendance this morning along with Cllr Mae Sexton, Cllr Joe Flaherty, Cllr Seamus Butler and Minister of State for the OPW, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran.
Martin Tarney, service coordinator for IWA Keenagh, said, “The desired outcome of today, the rationale behind the campaign today is to draw attention to the abuse of accessible parking bays and to highlight the need to maintain and increase the number of accessible parking bays in the town and throughout Co Longford.”
He went on to say that figures showed that over a thousand parking permits had been issued to people living in Longford.
“We’ve only got sixty-six spaces available here in Longford town,” he continued, before pointing out that in conjunction with the campaign, IWA was also holding an Open Day in Keenagh Resource Centre this afternoon.
Since its opening in 2000, IWA in Keenagh has provided services and support for people with disabilities living in towns and communities across the county.