Irish Autism Action calls for Buncrana students’ project to be rolled out nationally

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The CEO of Irish Autism Action has said he hopes a ‘preferential parking’ project undertaken by Inishowen students will be replicated all over the country.

Transition Year students from Scoil Mhuire in Buncrana, supported by Donegal County Council, Irish Autism Action and Donegal Down Syndrome, will tomorrow launch the ‘Preferential Parking Project.’

As a result of this pilot project, four designated parking spaces will be put in place around Buncrana, for people with non-physical disabilities who cannot access current disability parking spaces.

The students came up with the idea after listening to local mother Angela Tourish, who as a parent of a child with autism spoke of the difficulties they faced when parking.

The students refused to accept the system as it is and strongly felt that being innovative is “about not accepting the system as you find it, it is about proposing changes where you think change might be useful.”

The initiative, part of the school’s Social Innovators Project, has received fulsome praise, with spokesperson for Donegal Down Syndrome and Down Syndrome Ireland Gina Grant calling it an “inspiration to use who promote inclusion on every level.”

She added: “This space will be of huge benefit to those who need it for a host of valid reasons - be it for a child with sensory issues or a child that has no sense of danger and would run out on the road.”

CEO of Irish Autism Action Kevin Whelan said he was delighted the initiative is being launched and said: “Hopefully this wonderful project will be replicated all over the country.”

Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council Cllr. Ciaran Brogan said the project “is a great example of the positive change that young people in Donegal can bring about.”

The parking spaces, which will be launched tomorrow in Scoil Mhuire, will be located at Scoil Iosagain, Buncrana, St. Mary’s Oratory, Buncrana, The Medical Centre, Buncrana and SuperValu, Buncrana.