By Shelly Gaynor
Being a wheelchair user all my life going to the beach was never really an option. Now thanks to a new initiative run by county councils around the country, I can; using the new Beach Wheelchairs. These specialist chairs are designed to make it easier for beach users with a disability or mobility restrictions to have easier access to and enjoyment of the beach.
Fingal County Council has introduced a free Beach Wheelchair Pilot Scheme for 2016. There will be two beach wheelchairs one in Skerries and one in Portmarnock.
In July, I was invited to the launch of the Portmarnock Beach Wheelchair by my good friend Cllr Barry Martin who had put the motion down to bring the chairs to Fingal.
I was very impressed by how comfortable the chair was, it even had a headrest which was very beneficial to me.
That weekend the chair was available to members of the public. There was a very cute video on YouTube of a little boy with Downs Syndrome giggling away playing in the water. It was brilliant to think the next generation of kids with disabilities will be able to play and enjoy everything that a visit to the beach has to offer; just like their non disabled peers. So roll on next summer so I and others can enjoy fun days at the seaside!