Beach wheelchairs being considered by Cork County Council

Beach wheelchairs being considered by Cork County Council

Kathleen O’Sullivan and her daughter Hanna O’Sullivan, with sister Teresa, from Portmagee, on Ballinskelligs Beach, Co.Kerry, testing the specially- adapted beach Hippocampe wheelchair, designed to make it easier for beach users with a disability or mobility restrictions to access the beach. Picture: Valerie O’Sullivan

The provision of beach-friendly wheelchairs on Cork's beaches will be considered by Cork County Council in a review of facilities for people with disabilities.

Councillor Eoghan Jeffers (SF) has asked the council to consider providing wheelchairs - that are easy to guide and allow people to enter the water - on Cork's beaches.

The local authority is currently undertaking a survey of disabled facilities with the Disability Federation and Cork Sports Partnership.

Councillor Jeffers said: “These special wheelchairs will help many people who have mobility issues to enjoy our beaches. The chairs themselves use more balloon-type wheels that can glide over soft sand, unlike normal wheelchairs which would normally get stuck.

“They are very easy to manoeuvre on sand or any difficult terrain. It also gives people the ability to enter water up to a certain height which is a massive plus,” he added.

The Irish Wheelchair Association, Enable Ireland and the Disability Federation of Ireland approve have all approved the chairs.

Kevin Murphy (FG) said the use of such wheelchairs should be coupled with ramp access for wheelchairs users on all the county's beaches.

Danielle Twomey (SF) said the idea should be supported to allow all people to enjoy the county's beaches.

“It would mean so much to people that can't access the beach," she said, “We have access ramps for people on Youghal beach but once you hit the sand it's not fit for purpose. Something like these wheelchairs would recitfy this,” she added.

Cork County Council deputy chief executive Declan Daly said he would feed the positive reception of the idea from councillors into the review of the council's disabled facilities.

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