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Quiet spaces needed at St Patrick’s Day parades to facilitate people with autism – Carrigy

Longford parade to have dedicated section to allow all enjoy festival

14th February 2022 - Senator Micheál Carrigy

The organisers of St Patrick’s Day parades throughout the country must incorporate quiet sections to allow people on the autism spectrum attend and enjoy the celebrations, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Longford Senator Micheál Carrigy said, “With St Patrick’s Day parades returning this year in full force, I am calling on organisers to give particular consideration to the needs of those on the autism spectrum and the measures that should be put in place to ensure parades are welcoming and safe spaces for all.

“As the father of a child with autism, I know only too well how parades can often be inhospitable places because of the noise, lights and crowds of people. The needs of the autistic community must be taken on board by creating a quiet and suitable section at each parade. Basically, participants turn the music and noise down when passing this section so that all there can fully enjoy the parade.

“I am delighted to say that parade organisers in Longford have agreed that a section of this year’s parade will have no music or sirens so that families can attend in the knowledge that they will be able to watch the parade in a comfortable and safe area.

“I am now asking all parade organisers across the country to take this idea on board and have a quiet street or section and make it known that all families can enjoy the festivities – something which some families have waited many years for.

“The importance of listening to and catering for those with autism has been recognised by the Oireachtas with recent confirmation that a dedicated Joint Committee on Autism will be established. It will consider matters relating to the services and supports provided by the State for autistic people, and I very much look forward to engaging with the Committee over the coming months,” concluded Senator Carrigy.

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