3Arena criticised over viewing areas for people with disabilities

Alannah Murray had her view blocked by patrons for the entire Bruno Mars concert

Wheelchair user Alannah Murray has criticised the 3Arena for the location of its viewing platforms for people with disabilities, after having her view blocked for the entire performance during a recent Bruno Mars concert.

Murray wrote to The Irish Times about her experience at the venue for the April 30th concert. Her view during the concert was restricted due to people standing and dancing in the seating in front of her. The venue's stewards asked them to sit down a number of times.

The 20-year-old student points out that she has never had a problem with the music venue before but if small changes were made to the location of the viewing platforms, it would solve the problem for future paying customers with disabilities.

“I’d like to see them change where the wheelchair area is laid out,” she says. “Either we are put higher or the seating below is lowered slightly, so even if people do decide that they want to stand up, then they’re not obstructing the disabled area’s view.”


The wheelchair accessible viewing areas are located to the left and right of the stage, behind the first level of tiered seating. If people in the last few rows of the first level stand up to dance, which is to be expected during a live show, they immediately obstruct the view for those behind them, especially wheelchair users.

Murray doesn’t expect people to stop dancing during concerts but she says all paying customers, disabled or not, should get to experience the show equally.

“I wouldn’t want to impede on anyone and I’ve done the rounds on radio shows and any backlash that I’m getting is that it’s just another ‘woe is me, I’m disabled’ story’. That’s not what I want to put across at all. At the end of the day, I’m a paying patron.”

In response to Murray’s letter, a 3Arena spokesperson said: “3Arena is sorry that some of our patrons who use wheelchairs did not enjoy the concert in question as much as they could have. As has been noted, our stewarding staff asked those seated in front of the section dedicated to our wheelchair users to remain seated during the gig. Unfortunately these repeated requests were not complied with. We recognise that this situation is extremely distressing and we continue to examine options to solve the problem.”

The venue was renovated in 2008 and while the majority of its disabled facilities are up-to-date, Murray says that the viewing areas for wheelchair users are limited. “The fact is that they say ‘you can go here or here’. I feel like there needs to be more available,” she says.

For health and safety purposes, wheelchair users are not allowed in the venue’s standing area. The only accessible option is the allocated areas on the first floor.

What happened during the Bruno Mars concert won’t stop Murray from going to another event in the 3Arena but until the issue is resolved, it will be a concern for her whenever she returns. “It’s made me worry about how it’s going to impede me the next time I want to go to something.”