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Interactive communication boards mooted for Clare parks to foster inclusivity

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Interactive communication boards primarily aimed at the elderly and individuals with disabilities will be introduced at public parks in Clare should funding be obtained.

In order to “help with accessibility for people with disabilities and elderly people,” Cllr Ann Norton (IND) requested Clare County Council to install communication boards at amenities including Lees Rd and Vandeleur Gardens.

She cited the example at Min Ryan Park in Wexford which has already acknowledged people’s restrictions relating to language and has offered an alternative method of communicating using symbols, gestures and pictures.

Siobhán McNulty, a director within the Social Development Directorate of Clare County Councl believed Norton’s suggestion would be a “welcome addition”. “We will seek a funding stream to pilot a site and trial this initiative. That said the premise of these boards is that they are interactive and given current COVID-19 restrictions we would not be in a position to commence a pilot at this time,” she committed.

“We can however look at a pilot whereby the communication board could be in the form of a downloadable QR Code which individual users can use on their own smart phone/tablet,” McNulty added.

Cllr Norton responded, “I’m aware that we’re in the middle of a pandemic, it is something that maybe next year we should be looking at. A communication board is geared around people with speech impairments or very little communication”.

Support for the motion was voiced by Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG). “We are trying to increase biodiversity in Tim Smythe Park”. He felt there should be an encouragement to make the facilities “worthwhile” for all members of the population.

Praise for a “very proactive” County Council was expressed by Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND). “We’re lucky that we have such an inclusive local authority. Any of the suggestions brought forward, I presume the Council will learn from them”.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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