28 May 2014
Last updated at 06:eleven
NI’s chief electoral officer said it is “very regrettable” that a councillor with a incapacity could not give his victory speech from the podium.
No preparations have been in place for newly-elected councillor Johnny McCarthy, who makes use of a wheelchair, to entry the stage.
Councillor McCarthy, who was elected to Lisburn and Castlereagh council, delivered his speech from facet stage.
The council said they “regret any inconvenience prompted”.
Now Cllr McCarthy has acquired assist from a extreme-profile incapacity rights campaigner, Dame Anne Begg MP.
She has criticised the electoral office and Lisburn council for not providing a ramp for the councillor to ship his victory speech from the stage.
Dame Anne, who may also be a wheelchair shopper, said Northern Ireland’s chief electoral officer Graham Shields and the incoming chief authorities of Lisburn and Castlereagh district council Theresa Donaldson should apologise to Cllr McCarthy.
Addressing the gang as he gave his speech, Cllr McCarthy joked: “Obviously they didn’t anticipate me to get elected because of there is not a ramp proper right here.”
Speaking to the BBC, Cllr McCarthy confirmed there had been an oversight relating to providing a ramp to the platform, nevertheless thanked staff on the rely for his or her help and assist,
He added that he hoped the incident would help improve consciousness of the issues confronted by people with disabilities.
Dame Anne has used a wheelchair since 1984 and was elected as a Labour MP for Aberdeen South in 1997.
She was the first, full-time wheelchair shopper to be elected to parliament and said she had personal experiences of the difficulties expert by Cllr McCarthy.
Dame Anne has said she was “truly dissatisfied” to take heed to there had been an “oversight” in providing the ramp and said it despatched out the flawed message to youthful people eager to return into politics.
“I hope that this is usually a one-off and that the native authorities all through Northern Ireland will rise up and realise that they’ve to supply these kind of facilities for people,” she said.
“I undoubtedly assume the council should apologise to him because of they need to have acknowledged he was a candidate and the prospect of any candidate worthwhile is on a regular basis there.
“I assume that is the least they’ll do.”
Dame Anne said when she was elected in 1997 the rely employees provided her with a increase to help her stand up onto the stage.
Although, she said she wanted to be carried onto the stage after the carry broke down as soon as they’ve been testing it.
“I can respect the embarrassment and the annoyance that he would have felt that he wasn’t able to converse to the people who had elected him from the stage,” she said.
She moreover said the council now has the obligation to make sure he can do the job to his biggest potential.
“He merely needs to remain in there and do the most effective job he can,” she said.
“By doing that, he may be highlighting the needs of disabled people and his constituents.”
A spokesperson for incapacity charity Scope said: “It’s good to see a disabled candidate elected as a councillor.
“But it is truly disappointing that Cllr McCarthy’s victory was undermined because of straightforward steps weren’t taken to make the podium accessible,” they said.
“Disabled people are nonetheless massively beneath-represented in public life and plenty of disabled candidates face damaging attitudes and assumptions.
“This reveals an precise lack of thought on the part of the council and the electoral office.
“We hope that courses will in all probability be learnt, in order that this does not happen as soon as extra in future elections.”
In a press launch the chief electoral officer, Graham Shields, said; “While the problem of disabled entry on the rely centre is a matter for the council working the venue, it is rather regrettable definitely that Johnny McCarthy, as a newly-elected councillor, was unable to take his rightful place on the podium,” he said.
“I’ve little query that the council might want to evaluation the place and set it correct for future elections.”
The BBC moreover approached Dr Theresa Donaldson, the chief authorities of the model new Lisburn City and Castlereagh council, for a response.
Dr Donaldson takes up her submit initially of June and was not overseeing the rely.
In a press launch the council said they “regret any inconvenience caused to Cllr Johnny McCarthy by the scarcity of a ramp on the deputy returning officer’s announcement podium.
“This podium was not meant to be accessed by election candidates,” they said.
“A space had been provided in entrance of the podium for candidates to make speeches, nevertheless some candidates chosen to face on the deputy returning officer’s podium instead, after he had returned to the rely hall.
“The DRO has apologised to councillor McCarthy for any inconvenience prompted J:eleven am – Source: bbc.co.uk