Saturday 29 April 2017

This world hasn't been made with us in mind

I know how Niamh felt when that plane left without her. All she wanted was to feel normal, writes Ciara O'Connor

FRAGILE EXISTENCE: Ciara O’Connor lying on the bed where she wrote this article about the challenges faced by people who have a disability
FRAGILE EXISTENCE: Ciara O’Connor lying on the bed where she wrote this article about the challenges faced by people who have a disability

Ciara O'Connor

Last week, a young wheelchair user was left in tears as she watched her flight, with all her friends on board, take off from Dublin without her.

Ryanair defended the incident, saying that she hadn't booked assistance and was late for boarding. Niamh Herbert says she was there on time, and that she had requested assistance on her original booking, which Ryanair did not transfer over when they had changed her flight for her.

As a sometime wheelchair-user and frequent assistance-requester at airports, I felt for her. Niamh: the world has not been designed with you in mind. That's why asking for a lift to board a plane is met as though it were a mammoth and unreasonable task. That's why you were asked could you not chance the steps for the sake of ease. That's why you were left behind. And that's why Ryanair was filled with righteous indignation that you complained - because they've been good enough to accommodate lots of other disabled people.

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