At the Environmental Committee of Council last week a NOM ( notice of motion ) was presented by Cllr. McCandless and unanimously passed where he requested a complete review of the public toilets under Council control in regard to people who require to use them who suffer from various illnesses and disabilities – those who suffer from profound and multiple learning disabilities, spinal injuries, M.S. and Alzheimer’s to name a few.
Speaking to Causeway Coast Community Councillor McCandless said ‘Not every disability is visible and as it is not considered as a polite conversation – bladder and bowel problems and toilet issues in general tend not to be discussed.
For example, there is an assumption that incontinence only affects the elderly – not so.
NHS figures reveal that as many as 900,000 children and young people are affected by incontinence in the U.K. but because of the associated stigma, they try to hide it.
Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis causes serious discomfort, the most common age for diagnosis is between 18-30.
Unfortunately, many of our public toilets are not suitable places to bring the most vulnerable and severely disabled in our society to. These lack of facilities, such as proper sanitation bins, restrict where people with disabilities can travel. People who suffer from incontinence and other toilet issues need to plan their itinerary each day, we should not contribute to their social isolation due to lack of proper facilities.
If we expect that some of our children and in some cases adults should have to lie on a cold dirty floor to be changed – well quite simply, it is degrading.
I do appreciate that the equipment required for example of a “ changing places toilet “ would cost approx £15,000 so, in addition, to review where we need to provide proper sanitation bins we need to consider our four principal towns and our most visited spots also ensuring to advise where radar key access locations are.
Consultation should proceed in conjunction with the associated organisations who are aware of the sufferer’s needs and requirements along with where the upgrades are required. If we are serious about setting our sights on this area being recognised as a premier tourist destination we must be welcoming to all, we must not treat people with disabilities in a discriminatory manner.
We need to note however that final approval is required at full council meeting 26/2.’