On 1 October 2004 the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 changed significantly. The changes affect shops, cafes, restaurants, libraries, doctors’ surgeries, banks, pubs, in fact any organisation that provides a service to the public. The aim of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 is to improve access to services and The Equality Commission (NI) has organised a series of Roadshows and Seminars to give guidance to businesses and disabled people about what the changes will mean.
Information Roadshows are taking place in shopping centres throughout Northern Ireland as follows:
18 November 2004 Erneside, Enniskillen
25 November 2004 Ards
1 December 2004 Craigavon, Rushmere
9 December 2004 Europa Bus Station
16 December 2004 Forestside, Belfast
13 January 2005 Newry, The Quays
27 January 2005 Foyleside, Derry
Voluntary and community organisations can also avail of the Equality Commission’s training seminars, which highlight the steps groups can take to comply with the Act, looking not just at physical features of buildings, but also at how services are delivered.
To find out more please write to or visit Equality House, 7-9 Shaftesbury Square, Belfast, BT2 7DP, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, tel: 028 9050 0600 or textphone: 028 9050-0589.
A Deaf couple was refused as blood donors, by the National Blood Service, on the basis that the service could not guarantee that they would understand the questions asked.
The Deaf couple had volunteered to find an interpreter, which caused the NBS to respond:
“For their own safety, we ask volunteers some very intimate questions about their health and behaviour in a one-to-one interview. We have to be sure they have understood the questions and are in a position to give their consent.
“Sadly, we don’t have extra staff available to sit in on the interview and, because of the nature of the questions, a partner or friend can’t act as interpreter. There is no question of discrimination against deaf people. We are completely inclusive – we invite everyone to come along and volunteer.
“But there is no human right to give blood. It is our responsibility to protect the integrity of the blood supply and we can pick and choose who we take donations from.”
Links: This is Wiltshire and Western Daily Press, Bristol.
On the 1 October 2004, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (Amendment) Regulations 2003 come into force. Amongst other provisions, it provides for non-discrimination in respect of barristers. The relevant sections are below, for information.