Making Galway city 'employment friendly' for those with disabilities must become a major priority of the new council after May 24, a Labour candidate has said.
The 18 councillors who make up the next Galway City Council, along with the relevant community and voluntary organisations, must set "ambitious targets" to make Galway a more employment-friendly place for people with disabilities, according to Labour Galway City East candidate Liam Boyle.
According to the National Disability Authority, while 73 per cent of working-age people without a disability are working, that figure is 36 per cent for those with disabilities. Census figures show that 13 per cent of residents in the Galway City East ward have a disability, and as the population ages that figure is expected to increase.
Mr Boyle said it was a "scandal" that, 20 years after legislation to outlaw job discrimination on grounds of disability was brought in, labour force participation rates are low and unemployment is "unacceptably high" for people with a range of disabilities.
Mr Boyle believes that in addition to supporting employment opportunities for those with disabilities, the council also needs to examine the city's infrastructure in this regard. "We need well-designed footpaths free from obstacles to facilitate people with mobility impairments," he said. "We need more spaces on buses for people in wheelchairs, and to ensure that traffic lights have audio signals as standard.”