Moeder en autistische kinderen betwisten de weigering van een parkeervergunning voor gehandicaptenmei 15, 2020
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A number of children with autism and their mother are seeking leave to bring a High Court action claiming laws and regulations governing eligibility for disabled parking permits are unconstitutional.
The case arises after the mother, the children’s full-time carer, was refused a disabled person’s parking permit. Derek Shortall BL, for the family, who cannot be identified, said the permit was needed on health and safety grounds as it would allow the mother find parking much quicker and closer to essential services.
It would also limit the amount of time the children, all aged under 10 and some of whom need to be restrained when travelling, spend in the car. Counsel said Section 35 of the 1994 Road Traffic Act and Article 43 of the 1997 Road Traffic Regulations, which regulate parking and the issuing of disabled persons parking permits, define a disabled person as somebody with walking difficulties.
The children in this case can walk but have been diagnosed with various conditions, including sensory difficulties, autism and ADHD, he said. Due to their complex conditions their behaviour can be challenging, he said. Some of the children had no sense of danger and can bolt from the car once it stops. A second adult is generally required when the family take a car trip, which can be extremely difficult, he said.
The applicants’ case was that the rules and regulations governing entitlement to the permits are too rigid, disproportionate, impermissibly wide and discriminatory. Under the current laws, there is no power to create different categories of disabled persons, it is argued. It is claimed the relevant rules and regulations are unconstitutional and contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights because they discriminate against and exclude the children’s mother from getting a disabled person’s parking permit. The proceedings are against IWA Ltd, trading as the Irish Wheelchair Association, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Ireland and the Attorney General.
Mr Shortall said the IWA is the entity designated by government to make decisions on applications for permits. Last February, the mother was refused a permit. The IWA, counsel said, was very apologetic about its decision but said, as the rules stand, it could not grant the permit.
Counsel said various agencies, including the HSE, are supportive of the family’s application for the permit. In their action, the applicants seek an order disallowing the IWA’s refusal of the permit. They also various seek declarations including that sections of the 1994 Road Traffic Act and the 1997 Traffic and Parking regulations are repugnant to Articles 15 and 40 of the Constitution. Mr Justice Michael Quinn this week directed that the application for leave to bring the challenge should be heard on notice to the respondents and returned the matter to later this month.