Thursday 20 October 2016

Wexford leads by example to unveil first beach wheelchair in the country


the country's first beach wheelchair has been made available.

Wexford County Council is the first authority in the country to provide a free-to-use hippocampe, as the chair is known.

It allows for a more comfortable crossing of sandy terrain on beaches.

It can be used solo or with a companion.

There is now one available at Curracloe Beach where it can be booked ahead of time via the surf shack.

A second chair is to be deployed to the Rosslare beach in the coming weeks.

A spokeswoman for the Irish Wheelchair Association said that the group were very happy with the move.


"We are delighted the council are taking this initiative to facilitate people with disabilities to access facilities and amenities similar to their peers in society," she said.

"We hope the good weather prevails through the rest of the summer so that everyone can get out to enjoy the beach together."

If the pilot program is deemed a success it will be rolled out on blue flag beaches around the country.

Local Fianna Fail councillor James Browne welcomed the new addition to the county's famous strands.

"We have some of the best beaches in the country so it's fantastic to be able to open up those facilities to everyone," he said. "The council has been very aware of the need for better facilities for people with disabilities.


"In many ways we are taking the lead but we would hope that other councils would follow suit as the benefits they bring hugely outweigh the cost."

The innovative hippocampe beach chairs cost more than €3,000.

"It's a minor cost for such an important facility," councillor Mary Farrell said.

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