Seminar celebrates county’s disability consultative panel

By Echo Reporter

A SEMINAR celebrating South Dublin County’s Disability Advisory and Consultative Panel will take place on March 22, with an open invitation extended to individual members of the community, organisations and groups.

Established in 2010, the Disability Advisory and Consultative Panel is a unique partnership between South Dublin County Council and local disabled people, with the panel advising the council on key issues relevant to the lives and interests of disabled people across the region.

Selina Bonnie 16 March 2017

Made up of local people and service volunteers and staff, the panel also has an advisory and consultative role in developments led by the council, with members of the panel most recently road testing new barriers that were designed by the council for public park access.

Selina Bonnie, the council’s Disability Liaison and Access and Equality Officer, told The Echo: “Here in South Dublin County Council we are actively striving for excellence rather than the minimum standard.

“One size does not fit all and we are working towards universal access rather than a minimum standard of access.”

Selina, who has been active in the international disabled people’s movement both as an activist and an academic, added: “It’s important that we learn from people’s experience.

“I am a wheelchair user and can use my personal experiences to benefit my role here in the council.

“However, I can’t speak on behalf of a deaf person or a blind person and it’s important that we learn from their experiences.

“It’s something that we’re quite proud of here in the council and what is quite unique is that we’re led by people who require access.

“We are led by individuals who have lived experience.”

Each year the panel hosts a morning seminar to highlight a specific issue, with topics in the past including Maintaining Accessibility, the National Housing Strategy for Disabled People, Accessible Information and Communication and Universal Design.

This year, to mark the 7th year of the panel, the seminar will explore achievements since 2010 while exploring and highlighting issues around access to landscape, culture, leisure and heritage in the county – with specific focus on access to natural resources and heritage such as the Dublin Mountains, Clondalkin Round Tower and public parks.

According to County Mayor Guss O’Connell, who will open the seminar: “I am delighted to support this initiative which will provide disabled people the opportunity to contribute to the ongoing development of a more accessible county.

“In turn, as Mayor and on behalf of all the people of this county, I want to sincerely thank the South Dublin County Disability Advisory and Consultative Panel for their very significant contribution to date in making South Dublin more accessible for all our citizens”.

Guest speakers on the day will include Shane Keogh, Deafhear Community Resource Officer, Tony Shanahan from the South Dublin County Promotion Unit and Sergeant Will Gardner, from An Garda Síochána.

The event will take place on Wednesday, March 22, from 9.30am to 12.30pm in the council chamber in County Hall, Tallaght – which is wheelchair accessible.

The chamber is also fitted with an induction hearing loop and Irish Sign Language interpretation will be provided.

Anybody interested in attending must register and is encouraged to contact Selina Bonnie on 4149041 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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