THE Warren Beach in Rosscarbery has become the first beach in Cork to trial a new state-of-the-art beach wheelchair that will make the beach more accessible for people with a disability or a mobility issue.
The all-terrain Hippocampe beach wheelchair – which has balloon-type wheels that can travel over soft sand unlike regular wheelchairs – has been acquired by the Council and will be available at the Warren Beach on a trial basis.
According to a Council spokesperson, the Warren Beach was selected for this trial, following an audit of a number of beaches in the county by the Disability Federation of Ireland.
‘The wheelchair may be taken out in one hour slots commencing at 11am daily with the last booking being at 5pm,’ said the spokesperson.
‘Time slots may be reviewed based on demand level for the wheelchair,’ they added. ‘And any member of the public may pre-book the wheelchair, free of charge, through Rosscarbery Pitch & Putt Club.’
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin Cllr Eoghan Jeffers said on the Cork County Council Beach Lifeguard Service Facebook page that he was ‘absolutely thrilled with this announcement.’
Cllr Jeffers had previously raised a motion in the Council chamber back in January seeking a policy to introduce beach friendly wheelchairs as a service at Cork beaches.
‘This is the first introduction and I hope it can be expanded to enhance the quality of life for so many people,’ said Cllr Jeffers.
The reaction on the Council’s Beach Lifeguard Service Facebook page was overwhelmingly positive, with one parent saying this announcement is huge for them as a family.
‘Well done to whoever was responsible for this! There is so many people in West Cork who are denied access to beaches … This is huge for us.. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.’
Kerry County Council currently operates three beach wheelchairs at their beaches in Ballinskelligs, Inch and Ballybunion, which are available to book from June to September.
Further details will be available on www.corkcoco.ie