Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government

Universal Design In Building: Discussion

Ms Rosaleen Lally:

From IWA's experience with developers and the Department, space is seen as money and therefore an extra cost. There has always been resistance there. As a disability organisation, we say it should not be about cost. This is a right. It is not about luxury. Space is not a luxury for a person with a disability. It is a necessity. This flies in the face of everything we should be doing after ratifying the UNCRPD. Universal design should be the minimum. As the Deputy said, we need to look at that again. The only way it is going to work is if the building regulations are amended. It is the only way things will improve. When we met with the Department and the Minister's advisers, they said they encourage and support developers to go further. Supporting and encouraging is never going to work, unless these requirements are put into the regulations or Part M is amended. That is the only way this will ever be solved. Otherwise, as Deputy Ó Broin said, we will be back here again in ten years when all this money has been spent and all these houses have been built and we will still be in the same place, with people with disabilities sitting in nursing homes without their own homes.