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Public Consultation Opens On Creating More Disability Changing Places Toilets

The government wants to provide more accessible facilities in public buildings.

The government is seeking views from the public on providing more changing places toilets for disabled people.

Junior Minister and Longford-Westmeath Fine Gael TD Peter Burke has today launched a consultation on the matter, along with a proposed amendment to the Building Regulations to create more changing places toilets.

The aim is to introduce more accessible facilities in large, public buildings, like schools, hospitals, shopping centres and hotels.

80 extra changing areas and places with toilets could be provided nationwide each year, if regulations are changed

These facilities enable people with complex care needs to take part in everyday activities such as travel, shopping, family days out or attending a sporting event.

This public consultation is the culmination of the work of a Working Group established by the Department of Local Government and Planning in December 2020 to examine the provision of a changing areas or a changing places toilet in certain buildings. 

This working group has recommended that changing places toilets be provided in certain circumstances in buildings such as hospitals, places of assembly, sports stadiums, roadside service facilities, schools and colleges, shopping centres and hotels.

It has also recommended the technical requirements of a changing places toilet including the room size, layout and equipment to be included.

The Department would like to hear the views of all members of the public and from all construction and business sectors, and in particular:

- people with disabilities who use changing places toilets

- people who support others to use changing places toilets

- builders

- building designers

- building owners.

Launching the consultation, Minister Burke said;

“The implementation of these proposals has the potential to greatly enhance the lives of many people with a disability and could provide as many as 80 changing places toilets per year nationwide where they currently do not exist.

"Facilities such as these are needed to allow equal access to social activity and trips away from home for all citizens, and allow people with disabilities enjoy life in ways that I know many of us take for granted. I strongly encourage all those who may be impacted by the proposals to make their views known to the Department.”

Commenting on the consultation, Minister of State at the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Anne Rabbitte said:

“I welcome the launch of this public consultation on changing places and encourage those who use these types of facilities to get involved. 

“The principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) include greater participation in everyday community life and that requires accessible public spaces.

“Greater access to facilities like changing places allows people with disabilities to access public places such as hospitals, colleges etc., but also to access recreational facilities, which are as vitally important. 

“Consultation is key element of the UNCRPD and I know that Minister Burke and his officials will obtain great insights from doing so.”

Submissions should be emailed to buildingstandards@housing.gov.ie by 5pm on Thursday, May 12th, 2022.

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