5 April 2001 Edition

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Victory for Disabled

A woman from Ballyfermot, Dublin, won a court victory against uncaring service providers during the week. Linda Kavanagh, whose 13-year-old son Wesley is wheelchair-bound because of muscular dystrophy took a case against the driver of a wheelchair accessible taxi who refused to carry her and her son. Linda, Wesley and another son were in the city centre shopping last October when they approached a wheelchair acessible taxi at the head of a taxi rank The driver abruptly refused to carry them, despite the fact that Wesley's wheelchair had suffered a puncture, making it difficult to steer. After a while he admitted that he did not have the required wheelchair ramps with him.

Linda says this was and is a regular occurrence and that she took the case to highlight the discrimination faced by wheelchair-bound citizens. She regularly has to face waits of up to two hours to get a wheelchair-accessible taxi to or from her home.

What galled her in this case was the attitude of the driver, who didn't seem to care about fulfilling his obligations. Linda has called on the Irish Taxi Federation and other taxi unions to remind their members with licences for wheelchair-accessible taxis that they must comply with the law.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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