FINANCE OFFICIALS in Clare County Council are to examine a request that the local authority become a corporate member of the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower at a cost of €1,500 per annum.
Disability advocate, Cllr Ann Norton (IND) proposed that the Council join and recognise the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower. “This means that all offices, public facing or otherwise, all libraries, all leisure centres and all visitor attractions operated by Clare County Council will be able to announce and promote that they recognise the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower,” she stated.
At a cost of €1,500 plus VAT per annum, the Council could become a corporate member and have locations registered on the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower website proximity map, upload pictures from each location, distribute Sunflower lanyards from each chosen locations, list accessible experiences and access the invisible disability index online.
Head of Finance, Noeleen Fitzgerald said the implications on the Council would be assessed before a decision is made. “The Council welcomes all initiatives that help to raise awareness, improve accessibility and impacts positively on individuals or groups to allow them to fully participate in their local Council. The Council’s equality and human rights duty working group will examine the implications, resources and actions required for Clare County Council to become a business member of the global Hidden Disabilities Sunflower network”.
Speaking at the September meeting of the Council, Cllr Norton praised the local authority on their work in previous years “on the area around disabilities”. She stated, “this is extremely important because we are looking at hidden disabilities, an area which has increased over the years”.
Since the opening of the FASD offices in Ennis in April 2022, Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) has sported her sunflower. “I wear mine I’m completely deaf in my left ear since the age of seven when I had the mumps,” she revealed. “It is a very modest ask which has wide positive goodwill implications if adopted,” the Quin native believed.
Also adding support was Cllr Donna McGettigan (SF), “I also have a hidden disability and I notice Cllr Colleran Molloy’s lanyard, I try not to let it get in the way of my life and you will see me climbing mountains and not letting it hold me back”. Cllr Tom O’Callaghan (FF) said the issue was “close to my heart to have people with disabilities treated equally”.
Another politician to share their personal experience was Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG). “As a diabetic I wear the sunflower lanyard at mass events,” he said and explained that there can be difficulties when it comes to concerts and public transport.
Concluding the discussion, Cllr Norton expressed her hope that the Council would become a corporate member and acknowledged how the Cliffs of Moher have made inroads to develop more disability friendly practices.