Person living with disability: ‘I’d like a gold standard for accessibility’

Meet the Voters: Vivian Rath is a mobility scooter user living with his parents in Wexford

I live in Kilmuckridge, Co Wexford, a village of about 1,000 people. I had been living in Dublin for 10 years while studying and subsequently working in UCD but in the last couple of years my health has deteriorated and I moved home. I am now living with my parents.

I have a significant ongoing disability which I acquired as a young child. In recent times it has deteriorated due to asthma and other related respiratory difficulties. When I moved home one of the biggest challenges was access to services.

I use a mobility scooter so entry to buildings, access to footpaths and access to disabled parking creates a very significant challenge.

Other issues relate to accessible housing and accommodation and independent living. Accessing independent living is going to be more of a challenge to me in the coming years.


I did my degree in pharmacology in UCD followed by a masters in business at Smurfit Business School. At the moment I am doing a PhD at Trinity on the experience of students with disabilities in third level.

Challenges that I have faced over the last couple of years relate to disability allowance and medical cards. I am finding there is a lack of flexibility in relation to work for people with disabilities. That is something I will be looking out for: will the parties be offering more practical steps to assist people with disabilities get back to work?

In 2011 I voted for Fianna Fáil, but it's very difficult for me to say who I would vote for this year. I do not think I'd be voting for Labour. I do not think I'd be voting for some of the Renua policies either. I think Fianna Fáil has not been strong on the disability issue.

I think a lot of the parties could have been stronger.

I would like to see the implementation of a gold standard for accessibility that could be supported by an election candidate. And maybe a business allowance or grant could be provided to businesses to make their premises accessible to people with a disability.

I hope the candidates will call to the doors. I spend a lot of time listening to the radio, I watch the news and I read the newspaper but I like actually meeting my candidates. I like the opportunity to engage with the person, to get a sense of them, and to question them on a few issues.

Constituency: Wexford

Vivian Rath was in conversation with Dan Griffin