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I was fourteen when I joined the Irish Wheelchair Association. A few years later I was told about a master key that would give access to all toilets around Dublin. Does anybody know if such a key still exist?

Over the years, I heard that this key system was open to abuse. Of late I have noticed how difficult it is for any wheelchair user, including me, to have to send my PA to reception in some places or have to find a security guy with keys. Only these persons are able to open the doors which give access to the Government-mandated wheelchair-accessible public toilets.

Many times the Security teams are not easy to find or, in the case of my local shopping centre, the number for the security guard is inside the toilet area. This makes no sense to me. I find these complications very embarrassing. I understand why shopping centres or other public venues have to put a policy in place. But access to public toilets for wheelchair users should be made more simple.

Maybe one suggestion could be that a register be made of all wheelchair users in towns and cites. We are all on different lists somewhere, so one suggestion I have is that some government agency might create a list based on one’s social service number [PPS] in every locality in Ireland for this reason. Or makes keys available again to any organisation like the IWA.

We need to have this lack of access looked at urgently as wheelchair users and people with mobility difficulties have the same bodily functions as everyone else on the planet.

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