The Irish Wheelchair Association says that its members are being discriminated against as they cannot access a Blue Flag Beach in Erris despite having beach mats available.

A local access group was formed by the Wheelchair Association along with Western Care and the local community, which conducted an access audit a couple of years ago to see what difficulties were being faced by wheelchair users in the area.

It found that beach access was a huge problem, and beach mats were obtained through funding by Sláintecare Healthy Ireland.

However, the €5,000 mats are currently being held in storage because Mayo County Council will not insure them to be used as they do not themselves own them

This is despite the fact that, according to the Irish Wheelchair Association, the council had no problem with the mats when they were purchased in the first place.

Looking across the country, other local authorities have had no problem in insuring these mats for wheelchair users in their own local beaches – according to the National Access Manager with the Irish Wheelchair Association.

Rosaleen Lally says that Blue Flag beaches, like the one highlighted in Elly Bay (Trá Oiligh), “should be accessible.”

This morning, Ms. Lally spoke to Michael D. McAndrew and highlighted the concerns of the association and its members:

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