Waterford City and County Council has installed two Hidden Disability Car Parking Spaces in Scanlan’s Yard in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford.
The car parking spaces, introduced in September last year, are easily identified with a bright yellow sunflower on a green background. The sunflower has become internationally recognised as the symbol of hidden disabilities.
As not all disabilities are visible, or immediately obvious, the car parking spaces are in a safe location, not immediately located beside the road and are the same dimensions as a Wheelchair accessible parking space.
Fergus Galvin, Director of Services, Waterford City and County Council explained, “Many disabilities are not always visible such as autism, acquired brain injury, sight or hearing impairment, or learning difficulties. Those with hidden disabilities, and their families or carers may need a little extra time or assistance getting into and out of their cars safely.”
“Some of the users may not qualify for a Blue Badge, so these courtesy parking spaces provide a safe and accessible place to park. While the hidden disability spaces require paid parking, with the Pay and Display ticket machine located close to these spaces, we would ask the general public to respect the spaces and leave them for those with hidden disabilities.”
Waterford City and County Council is the first local authority in Ireland to introduce hidden disability spaces and following such a positive response intends to introduce more in the city and county in the near future.
According to Hidden Disabilities, across Ireland, 1 in 5 people live with some form of disability and 80% of these are non-visible, which is just under one million people who are living with a non-visible disability.