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Council’s failure to repaint rainbow colours nothing to do with us, says NCBI


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Council’s failure to repaint rainbow colours nothing to do with us, says NCBI Council’s failure to repaint rainbow colours nothing to do with us, says NCBI

There have been calls to address the ‘shameful’ state of the city centre’s only Pride rainbow crossing on Bridge Street.

But according to one local councillor, the City Council is refusing to repaint the rainbow due to concerns expressed by representatives of the blind and vision impaired – a claim the country’s leading sight loss charity has denied.

Local Councillor Níall McNelis (Lab) said he had campaigned to have the pride colours painted on Bridge Street, but since the crossing’s installation in 2022, these had been damaged by roadworks and deteriorated due to car traffic.

However, the Labour councillor said he was left scratching his head after he sought to have repairs carried out when he was informed by the Roads Department that they couldn’t be done as a result of instructions from the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI).

“I was informed by the Roads Section that they would be unable to do anything with it because they had been told by the NCBI that it was causing problems for people with guide dogs,” said Cllr McNelis.

However, responding to a query from the Galway City Tribune, the NCBI said it had issued guidelines on the use of rainbow and colourful crossings last year – including how to maintain the conditions necessary for those who are visually impaired.

“NCBI is a diverse, inclusive organisation that recognises the importance of Pride visibility and supports the safe implementation at pedestrian crossings. Good visual colour contrast is essential to make pedestrian crossings as safe as possible for people who have low vision.

“Black and white road markings afford effective visual colour contrast in all lighting and weather conditions,” said a spokesperson.

He said NCBI had published a position paper in relation to colourful crossings in October 2022 which sets out best practice guidance for the introduction of rainbows at pedestrian crossings.

“Maintaining black and white markings at pedestrian crossings and incorporating white borders at the edges of rainbows are among the recommendations within that paper. At the paper’s core, NCBI asks that a considered approach to colourful crossings is taken to ensure that pedestrian crossings are inclusive for those celebrating Pride and for people who are blind or have low vision,” said the spokesperson.

The paper was available to all local authorities and their designers, and NCBI was happy to engage with any local authority seeking advice, he added.

Cllr McNelis said Galway City Council should consult with the NCBI’s guidelines and repair the rainbow crossing in line with their recommendations.

“I was very supportive of installing the first one of these crossings in Galway and have encouraged other local authorities to do the same. It’s clear that the NCBI simply want the crossings to be done in a safe way and not to get rid of them altogether.

“We have included rainbow crossings in the plans for crossings at the new footbridge which is to be installed on Wolfe Tone Bridge and they should be done to the same standard,” said Cllr McNelis.

The rainbow crossings were a strong symbol of solidarity and support with the LGBTQI+ community, he continued, and the Bridge Street crossing should be repaired ahead of Galway’s Pride Week in August.

“This is a very strong symbol of Pride, which, let’s not forget is a protest, and a sign of equality for all in our city. After Pride in Dublin last weekend and coming up to our own Pride in Galway, it would be very timely to repair that crossing now,” said Cllr McNelis.

Galway City Council did not provide a response when contacted for comment.



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