International News May 9, 2021 9:06 PM EST

Galway City Councillor proposes 'inclusive' benches that cut down on available seating

A Galway City Councillor proposed on Saturday the introduction of 'inclusive benches' around Galway that would allow for wheelchair accessible seats.

Galway City Councillor proposes 'inclusive' benches that cut down on available seating
Hannah Nightingale Washington DC
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A Galway City Councillor proposed on Saturday the introduction of 'inclusive benches' around Galway, Ireland that would allow for wheelchair accessible seats.

Clodagh Higgins, a Councillor representing Salthill, Taylors Hill, Knocknacarra, and Rahoon, posted on Twitter Saturday a photo demonstrating the proposed wheelchair accessible benches saying "we must do better and we can do better."

The bench features a gap between two seats that would accommodate a person in a wheelchair.

Many commented on the post saying that the bench was hostile architecture, features in public spaces that would discourage a homeless person from sleeping there, in disguise.

"I was recently requested by a number of parents of disables children to bring this proposal forward to improve the experience of disabled people in our public parks," wrote Higgins in response to the backlash. "To imply that my motivations was to target homeless people is a despicable slur and personally very hurtful."

The bench design would also effectively reduce available seating by one third, which would mean less seating available for those that could require seating, like the elderly or disabled persons not in a wheelchair.

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