Today My Way Access visited Omagh Courthouse to test the accessibility. I wanted to see how to the jurisdictional service could manage to access their premises if someone in a wheelchair or has a disability needed to use their services.
I could not get pass the reception area, as the lift was out of commission. I was told the lift has been broken for over 3 months now and they have been trying to it fixed. To date, they have been unsuccessful. Whether this is due to budgetary constraints or other factors, I was unable to determine, but it simply wasn’t good enough.
As present, if anyone who has a disability and has mobility difficulties, they cannot access any other floors. If they wish to meet someone, then it has to be done in an office on the ground floor. Even the judge has to meet them on the ground floor.
People in wheelchairs cannot even access the courtrooms and all cases have to be conducted downstairs. Where is the equality here? Being in court can be stressful enough at the best of times, but imagine the extra stress burden on someone, due to the inaccessibility of their courts?
What if Omagh Courthouse has a employee who is a wheelchair user? How is this person supposed to conduct their duties fully, if they do not have access to all parts of the building? This is potential employment discrimination.
My Way Access is calling on The Department of Justice, Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals and Judiciary NI to get this fixed and ensures all their premises are accessible. This is a matter of great urgency and needs to be addressed.
Please let My Way Access if you have a disability and you have had to access the courts in your town or city? Was the accessibility good in your area? Where you restricted due to the inaccessibility of the building or the condition of their provisions?
My Way Access wants to hear your views.