Over the years, regular visitors to My Way Access will know that I have contacted and highlighted the accessibility problems at The International Northwest 200 (NW200) for spectators with disabilities in Portstewart.
Through my many phone calls and emails over the years, they have seldom been acknowledged and when they have, at a cursory level. No commitment to look at the issues, never mind do anything about them.
This was brought to my attention by My Way Access user Stephen Magee. He too has been trying to get the NW200 to listen to his concerns, but they have always fallen on deaf ears.
However, things took a darker turn on Monday afternoon, when Stephen rang them about the disabled parking space.
The NW200 had moved the disabled spaces to a new location, this time a field. Stephen informed me that it causes great difficulty for powered wheelchairs and was near impossible for manual wheelchairs to move on the ground.
On approx 3pm on Monday, Stephen rang the NW200 to inform them of this issue, he was met with some questionable language on the telephone.
Is this what is now acceptable behaviour to deal with someone with legitimate accessibility issues? Is this acceptable behaviour for a large international sporting event to treat their fans?
I emailed NW200 on Thursday morning to give them a right-to-reply, as I wanted to deal with this matter offline and away from the public eye. I wanted to give them an opportunity to put their side of the events across.
48 hours later and NW200 have not replied to me. I am now asking them publicly, why was Stephen met was such anger and rudeness? Why are spectators with disabilities not treated with respect?