More MS news articles for Oct 2001

Ferry's facilities fail disabled passenger

Tuesday, 2 October, 2001, 18:26 GMT 19:26 UK

A ferry company which operates services between Wales and Ireland has admitted that facilities on its ship are so poor that it cannot take any more bookings from some disabled passengers.

The admission by the Swansea Cork Ferry company means people with severe disabilities will have to find another route to Ireland.

It follows complaints from a wheelchair user from Cardiff who claims her safety on board the ferry was compromised when she went on a family holiday to Ireland this summer.

Gill Worrall, a multiple sclerosis sufferer who lives in a residential home, had booked a disabled cabin on the ferry.

However, when the family boarded they the cabin was located below the main car deck, with narrow passageways the only means of escape,

Mrs Worrall's father Geoff from Rhoose in the Vale of Glamorgan said: "I don't think they are working in the 21st century."

"The company should be able to organised themselves so the disabled cabin is up near the master's cabin."

"They should provide services like everybody else."

The ferry company has now been told by the safety watchdog that it cannot use the cabin for severely disabled passenegers.

Swansea Cork Ferry has admitted it is not user-friendly and said it can no longer take bookings from people like Gill.

Chief Executive of Disability Wales, Rhian Davies,said: "This is a disgrace.

"The ferry company is discriminating against severely disabled people by simply saying they are not welcome on this route.

"If they made a similar ruling against ethnic minorities there would be a national outcry.

"The problem is that transport is not covered by the Disability Discrimination Act so the ferry company can get away with it."

Disabled travel: Make your own way?

Tuesday, 2 October, 2001, 21:01 GMT 22:01 UK

Swansea Cork Ferry company has admitted that facilities on its ships are not good enough to carry some disabled passengers.

It has told customers with severe disabilities that they will have to find other ways of travelling to Ireland.

Gill Worrall, who has multiple sclerosis, found the disabled cabin she had booked was not acceptable.

She complained that the company was not operating in the 21st century and ignoring the needs of a key group of customers.

Watchdog Disability Wales branded the situation a "disgrace".

What do you think? Should travel operators be compelled to provide adequate facilities for disabled people?

If you have a disability, tell us about your own experiences of using public and private transport? Are things getting any better? Should more money be spent on decent facilities?

Click here to read the full story on the Swansea Cork Ferry decision.

My mother is wheelchair-bound because of a stroke. Over the last 10 years I have seen numerous improvements made - but so much more needs to be done in order to make people like her self-confident enough to venture anywhere without concern.

Robert del Valle, USA

Everybody has sympathy with genuinely disabled people, and their special requirements. I know a guy with MS. Unfortunately, though, all companies have to operate within their cashflow availability. Much as many of them would like to do everything under the sun for everybody, it simply isn't viable.

Hard though it might appear, there are other equally important issues which the disabled sometimes rather selfishly choose to ignore.

Safety on board vessels is of course a top priority, and to provide the extra safety requirements necessary to evacauate severely disabled people from a sinking vessel would be so prohibitive as to make ferry operation impossible.

Make the best of what's available, that's my advice. Don't push companies too far. They will simply close the operation altogether, and then it's lost to everybody....including the disabled.

David, UK