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12 December 2017

Changing Places campaign takes off in Ireland 

Last week Ciara Lawrence, Campaigns Assistant at Mencap, went out to Dublin to advise on the Changing Places campaign that is gathering pace in Ireland.

Ciara has a learning disability herself and is passionate about Changing Places. She engaged with Inclusion Ireland, the national association for those with a learning disability (known as "intellectual disability" in Ireland), as she knew "from going on holiday to Dublin over the last few years that there are not any Changing Places Toilets in the Republic of Ireland for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities who really need them." Inclusion Ireland were keen to see a change and started their own Changing Places campaign in 2014.

Inclusion Ireland has now established a Changing Places working group that includes parents, elected representatives, an architect, colleagues from the disability sector and an occupational therapist. The working group has met with the Office for Public Works, a state body responsible for the upkeep of historic buildings in Ireland, to discuss installing Changing Places toilets at five of Ireland's biggest tourist sites, including Dublin Castle and the National Gallery. Subject to appraisals, it is likely that work will start on installing a Changing Places toilet at Áras an Uachtaráin in the Phoenix Park this summer.

On her visit, Ciara met with Cormac Cahill from Inclusion Ireland and Cllr Paula Donovan to discuss progress and a strategy for the Irish Changing Places campaign.

Ciara also met with representatives from Dublin Airport on her return journey to London. Dublin Aiport is actively considering installing Changing Places and invited Ciara to inspect the site they were considering installing their first Changing Places toilet.

"The meetings were really positive" reports Ciara, who is looking forward to continuing working with the campaign in the Republic of Ireland and seeing more Changing Places installed throughout the Emerald Isle so people with a disability "can go out and enjoy life just like anyone else."

You can read more about Inclusion Ireland’s campaign on their website and on Facebook


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