Disgraceful drivers put Joan Ann at risk

A snapshot of Joan Ann Brosnan posted on Facebook by the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind organisation

DOZENS of people took to the streets to highlight disgraceful driver behaviour which is compromising the safety of a popular local woman, who is blind, and causing a major inconvenience in her life.

Joan Ann Brosnan, from Killorglin, had taken to social media to highlight her regular plight as she returns from work and steps off a bus at Library Point in the town centre. On several occasions she discovers that access to the safety of the pavement is blocked by vehicles parked illegally at the designated bus stop and adjoining loading bay.

Highlighting her plight on Facebook, Joan Ann remarked: “This evening I got off the bus on to the road as there were five cars parked in the bus stop. I got up onto the footpath and didn’t have a clue where I was”.

She added: “As it was quite windy, I found it very difficult to hear. I could not find the directional paving to guide me to the bus stop. This paving was put down as a guide to assist blind people to locate the bus stop. It is then possible to follow this paving along to the library”.

Joan Ann had highlighted her plight several times in the past and while the local authority traffic warden is closely monitoring the situation, it is frequently outside of normal working hours that difficulties often arise with illegally parked vehicles.

Kerry County Council member, Cllr Damian Quigg, organised a protest at the bus stop on Friday night and close on 60 people turned out to pledge their support to a campaign to help Joan Ann.

One of the banners carried by protesters at Library Point on Friday night

“Let’s hope now that people will be more responsible and have more consideration for others going forward,” said Cllr Quigg who is to raise the issue with senior council officials to seek funding for electronic bollards at the location.

The Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind organisation has also rowed in behind Joan Ann who has received training to work with a specialist dog at the centre in Cork.

“When guide dog owners and long cane users repeatedly encounter blocked pavements, inappropriately or poorly parked cars in their locality, it can make their trips out for their daily activities unduly difficult. Over time a person may lose the confidence to go out by themselves,” a spokesperson said.

“Kerry County Council has placed tactile paving to support Joan Anne to orientate however, what has been happening is people are parking across this. This then causes a difficulty for Joan Anne with orientation,” the spokesperson added.

A frustrated Joan Ann remarked “This is completely unacceptable. Why do we have a bus stop in Killorglin if it is not being used for the purpose it was built for? When are Kerry County Council going to take this issue seriously?”

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