“We want to work, we want to go out, we want to have a life. We want to be part of part of Ireland. But we’re not. We’re the invisible people. We’re not seen. We’re segregated. We’re forgotten. We’re the forgotten people of Ireland.”
The words of Saoirse Smith, a 31-year-old comedian from Clontarf in Dublin who has cerebal palsy and uses a wheelchair.
She works full time and is a ‘sit down’ comedian, gigging in her spare time but many of the comedy nights are in old pub buildings, either in the cellar or upstairs with no lifts, forcing Saoirse to climb out of her wheelchair and use her hands and bum to negotiate the stairs.
“I have to go into buildings and crawl stairs and do all these things which I shouldn’t have to do, but I do. and that’s no fault of promoters, they’re just renting a room. But there needs to be a renovation of these old buildings.”
She goes on to specify that “Government needs to get on board and making buildings accessible, either old or new and there needs to be legislation.” Inaccessible buildings stop artists with disabilities performing but also prevent audiences with disabilities enjoying it.