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Sunday 16 December 2018

'You feel like nothing' - filmmaker demands improvement in public transport for people with disabilities in powerful speech

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

AN award-winning filmaker has demanded improved public transport services for people with disabilities after delivering powerful testimony on being failed by bus services around 20 times.

Alannah Murray (21) told the Oireachtas Tranpsort Committee how she was left down by public transport, despite pre-booking her journeys to ensure there would be a wheelchair accessible bus available to her.

She told TDs and Senators how it feels when the services she needs as a wheelchair user hasn't been provided.

"I cannot begin to describe the emotions that go through your body when you're sat at a crowded bus stop and a driver steps out and tells you that they were unable to carry you simply because you have a disability.

"This has happened time and again.

"You see the crowds of people whispering to each other. Sympathetic looks are exchanged.

"Then the bus pulls away and you are left sat there, alone, feeling like nothing,"Ms Murray said.

Committee chairman, Fine Gael TD Fergus O'Dowd said it is "appalling" that she has been failed so many times by bus services.

Ms Murray, whose documentary on disability has toured on the festival circuit, said Transport Minister Shane Ross needs to take action on the issue "to make sure that none of us have to sit here again"

"I am too young to feel this jaded about a system that can be fixed," she said.

Padraic Moran (34), who has cerebral palsy, told the Committee of his difficulties with train services.

He spoke of how people with disabilities have to book accessible services 24 hours in advance and made the point that if the rest of the population had to do that "they wouldn't stand for it".

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