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Disability access for Garden of Remembrance to be addressed

A decision on a proposed Journey of Light memorial could pave the way for a universally accessible Garden of Remembrance.

THE QUESTION OF universal access for the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square in Dublin could be resolved soon.

Deputy Gerry Adams recently asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, the reason why the majority of the Garden of Remembrance is inaccessible to wheelchair users or those with impaired mobility.

The garden has steps in some areas which affects access for wheelchair users and those of restricted mobility.

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Brian Hayes, gave him the latest update in the situation.

He pointed out that the reason behind the lack of universal access was due to the time when the garden was constructed.

“When the Garden of Remembrance was designed in 1940 and opened in 1966 as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Easter Rising the provision of universal access was neither a planning requirement nor considered a necessity,” he said in an answer to the parliamentary question to Deputy Adams. “Universal access to the sunken pool and grassed areas was not provided.”

Journey of Light Memorial

However, this situation could change in the coming months.

Hayes said that as part of the planning application submitted to Dublin City Council in October 2012 for the proposed ‘Journey of light Memorial’ to the Victims of Abuse in Institutions – which would be located at the western end of the Garden of Remembrance – an accessibility appraisal was carried out.

This appraisal took into account the existing layout of the Garden and was submitted to Dublin City Council in November 2012.

Hayes said that planning permission for the proposed Memorial was granted on 19 May, 2013, but this was appealed to An Bord Pleanála. The decision of An Bord Pleanála is expected by 8 October 2013.

If the Journey of Light Memorial project is approved, Hayes said it “will address the majority of accessibility issues including the sunken pool area”.

He noted that universal access to the main plinth area, where the Children of Lir statue is located, will then be the outstanding issue. It is hoped to address this in due course, said Hayes, “mindful that any proposed interventions will have to have regard to the uniqueness and status of the Garden”.

Read: 27 Irish landmarks going green for St Patrick’s Festival>

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