ALL applicants for Kildare County Council grants from next year will be required to prove they comply with a ‘universal accessability’ protocol in order to qualify.
This extra line in equality achievement was introduced by a five-member motion at the January plenary meeting of the full council.
The five (Cllrs Clear, Coleman, Cussen, Kelly and Peggy O’Dwyer) asked that the council get in step with its own access watchdog – the County Kildare Access Network (CKAN) – to make universal accessability a condition of applying for any county council grants.
“I think it could be done this year, if a bit of work is done,” said Cllr Ida Cussen. However, her enthusiasm was tempered somewhat by Sonya Kavanagh, Director of Services at the Community and Economic Development Section.
“The objective is laudable and deserves support, but the consequence of adopting such a motion [at this time] needs to be considered carefully,” she cautioned.
“A review of eligibility for all KCC grants to take this into account would result in these grants being deferred until later in the year,” she pointed out.
“In 2019 most grants had a closing date of 12 March. A review of eligibility would need to be overseen and agreed by an SPC [strategic policy committee] and would also need input from the Access Officer and CKAN,” Ms Kavanagh.
“The number of grants involved, and which ones would be affected would also need to be clarified,” she continued.
Mayor of Kildare and chair of the meeting Cllr Suzanne Doyle clarified: “It could be done this year, but the implication is the grants would be delayed”.
Ms Kavanagh continued: “I would suggest this work be undertaken, but that [it] should not hold up the allocation of grants in 2020”.
“In this regard I would ask members to exercise caution around adopting this motion as it stands presently,” said Ms Kavanagh, and the members agreed.
The motion was deferred, to be implemented with next year’s grant applications.