CORK County Council has pledged to explore in more detail the concept of providing special parking spaces at primary schools throughout the county for people with hidden disabilities.
At a recent full council meeting, a motion was brought forward by Councillor Mary Linehan Foley requesting Cork County Council to provide special parking spaces at schools for persons with hidden disabilities, similar to existing disability parking spaces.
These spaces would be courtesy spaces, at the discretion of the public to be used by people with a sensory disability, and would be clearly marked with a sunflower and lining.
Niall Healy, director of services, municipal district operations and rural development, said the council will need more information, but stated they will look into the concept to see how it is operating in other areas.
“Car parking at schools involves a mix of public parking and school car parks depending on the location. The priority is that parking is effectively managed.”
Cllr Linehan Foley said she brought the motion following calls from parents in her constituency. “I was contacted by a number of parents whose children attend a local primary school in Youghal. There is disability parking there, but children with sensory issues are not qualifying for a disability parking space as it is a hidden disability. Some parents are finding it difficult to access the school with their children. They have to carry their children distances up to the school gates who have a lot of sensory issues. It is very distressing for the kids and the parents,” she said.
She said a similar initiative has been implemented in Waterford which could be replicated in Cork.
“A town in Waterford already has one of these sensory parking areas. It is a sunflower and a simple parking area. It doesn’t have to be manned or need a traffic warden,” she added.
Her motion received unanimous support from her fellow councillors.
Cllr Ben Dalton O’Sullivan seconded the motion and said it is an ‘excellent’ motion: “It is a simple idea that could be rolled out effectively.”