City councillor goes viral over tweet on wheelchair accessible benches

Galway Bay fm newsroom – City councillor Clodagh Higgins has gone viral online over a tweet she posted earlier this year about wheelchair friendly park benches.

While the matter attracted significant national attention when it first arose back in May, it’s now gone international – via popular online discussion platform Reddit.

The issue centres on a wheelchair-friendly park bench – which Councillor Higgins previously tweeted should be installed at various points around the city to promote inclusiveness.

It’s essentially a conventional bench with the middle seat removed to accommodate a wheelchair.

She was subsequently accused of promoting an anti-homeless agenda – with accusations that the seat was primarily designed to make it impossible for rough sleepers to use them.

That’s something Councillor Higgins fiercely denied, saying the matter was something that had been brought to her attention by parents of disabled children.

Although it was deleted at that time, whatever the reason, a screenshot of the tweet is once again trending this evening on online discussion platform Reddit.

It was posted 10 hours ago with the title “Using disabled people to disguise anti-homeless architecture is a new low”.

At the time of press, it had already garnered around 12 thousand votes of disapproval, as well as almost 600 comments from around the world – the vast majority of which are negative.

However, some commentators familiar with Galway have noted that rough sleepers in the city typically don’t use benches due to location or weather.

They argue Councillor Higgins was well-intentioned, regardless of how feasible the idea of wheelchair accessible benches actually is.

A number of disabled users did contribute to the argument – the majority of which agreed the design isn’t very good or particularly wheelchair friendly.