‘Short-sighted’ not to include fully accessible changing facility

By Aideen O'Flaherty

SOUTH Dublin County Council’s decision not to include a fully accessible changing facility in the new stand at Tallaght Stadium has been described as “short-sighted” by a local community group, reports Aideen O’Flaherty.

Tallaght Community Council (TCC) lodged a submission on the council’s plans for the development of the new North Stand of Tallaght Stadium during the Part 8 public consultation period.

Aerial Tallaght Stadium 4 of 6 Photo Ben Ryan 1

A new North Stand is being built at Tallaght Stadium

TCC are calling for the inclusion of a fully accessible changing room in the new stand saying that “inclusion should be a core design consideration”.

“We have brought a firm focus on inclusion when looking at planning applications and future plans for Tallaght,” explained Tara De Buitléar, PRO of TCC.

“It is important that the council sets a high bar for inclusion in all public facilities.

“Tallaght Stadium is being developed to become a multifunction venue and therefore it seems short-sighted not to adopt the same standard for it as in some local projects, such as the new swimming pool in Lucan.

“In the UK all public buildings need to have a fully inclusive changing room facility. We are calling for that to be implemented in Ireland too.”

Former Tallaght Person of the Year and TCC’s inclusion officer, Sinead Tighe, added: “Our community facilities need to be future-proofed to be fully inclusive and not just meet the current bare minimum standards.

“Inclusion should be a core design consideration, not an afterthought.”

In response to TCC’s submission, the council’s chief executive recommended that “no amendments” be made to the proposal for the new stadium, as regards provision of a fully accessible changing facility.

South Dublin County Council stated that there will be 101 universal accessible seats out of 10,000 seats in the new North Stand, and there will be two universal accessible toilets in the stand, one at ground floor and one at first floor.

Regarding their decision not to include an accessible changing facility, the council said: “The additional space required, the height-adjustable equipment and the constructional and usage implications of the full-coverage hoist has significant cost, insurance and annual maintenance implications which seriously limit the locations which can afford or safely manage a facility of this nature.”

However, the local authority said it is making “a significant investment” in changing facilities in County Hall, Tallaght, and at the new swimming pool in Lucan.

Liz Kennedy, chairperson of TCC, said: “We thank all councillors who listened to our submission regarding the changing room, it shows the strength of working together.”

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