GREENCASTLE disability rights campaigner, Dermot Devlin has launched a new campaign aimed at raising awareness of the problems faced by those with disabilities due to bad parking.
His idea is to put stickers on the vehicles of cars that are blocking footpaths and is already generating widespread interest and support.
In future, he is intent on effectively shaming motorists into becoming more aware of the impact that their poor parking has on those, like him, who have a disability.
The stickers are emblazoned with the slogan, ‘My Way Access. Your Vehicle Blocks My Way’ and could be appearing on a car near you soon.
“What I want to do is make people aware that by parking on a footpath they are forcing people like myself onto the road where we’re in immediate and serious danger,” he said.
“This is something that I’ve been trying to highlight and it has just reached the stage now where I don’t care if drivers get angry. After all, it’s them who are parking illegally.
“People think that they are maybe only parking on the footpath for a brief five minutes to go into the shop or prevent their hair from getting wet. But they need to realise the impact that blocking a footpath has on those with disabilities and the problems that it causes.
“There are campaigns held on a regular basis to highlight this issue and I’m intent on linking into some of them in the future to try and really get the message across about how frustrating this practise by motorists is.”
Mr Devlin says the problem isn’t just confined to Omagh, but is prevalent in towns and cities across Ireland and much further afield.
“There have been people in touch with me from all parts of the North to get some of these stickers so that they can highlight this problem in their own areas,” he added.
“My hope is that, as the campaign grows, there will be an opportunity for a business or an individual to sponsor the printing of more stickers so that we can keep this to the forefront of the minds of motorists who are prone to poor parking.”
Mr Devlin is founder of My Way Access, chairperson of Omagh Access Forum and vice-chairperson of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council Disability Advisory Group.