House Six could be made accessible by 2024 if a proposed plan to install a lift in the building is given the green light.
A feasibility study carried out before Christmas by Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU), the Central Societies Committee(CSC) and Disability Service confirmed that the building could be made accessible.
In a statement TCDSU President Leah Keogh said: “We are delighted to share that the recent results outlined that the project is feasible and will proceed. The project will be funded as part of the Disability Service’s Universal Access Project and it is projected that it will be completed by 2024.”
House Six is home to TCDSU along with the Central Societies Committee (CSC), Trinity Publications and The University Times .
The estimated costs of installing the lift will be at least €300,000. The project will be discussed tomorrow at the Student Life Committee.
A presentation to be made Head of the Disability Service Declan Treanor and Medium Capital Projects Lead Sharon O’Reilly, seen by The University Times, says that Trinity is currently “not compliant with National Disability Act 2005 and EU Accessibility Directives”.
According to the presentation, the project is part of the Universal Access Programme by the Disability Service and Estates and Facilities, which aims to improve and provide access for disabled students in Trinity’s strategically most important buildings. Other ongoing accessibility projects include The Provost’s House, the 1937 Reading Room, the Samuel Beckett Theatre and Seomra na Gaeilge.
In an email statement to The University Times, Treanor said: “The student bodies are being asked to contribute to this project as part of the student levy already being gathered from the student body that has 12 per cent students with disabilities. I look forward to making this building fully accessible and inclusive to all our students.”
According to the presentation, “funding of €2,038,746 has already been secured and ring-fenced to deliver this programme”. Four options for House Six accessibility are outlined, including inclined platform lifts on external and internal stairs and a platform lift in House Seven. These were not chosen for accessibility and social equality reasons. Option three, which is the preferred option, would see a platform lift built to the back right side of the stairs. This is also the option with the least impact on conservation efforts.
Last April, TCDSU council passed a motion mandating the union’s president and officer for students with disabilities to lobby College to conduct a feasibility study into making House Six accessible to all.
The motion was proposed by TCDSU’s then-Officer for Students With Disabilities Niamh Herbert and seconded by the Deputy Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths Convenor and current Education Officer Bev Genockey.
Last year, the Cumann Gaelach revived a campaign to improve accessibility for Seomra na Gaeilge. In 2017 a study was carried out which found the room was inaccessible for wheelchair users and those with mobility difficulties.
The union’s lack of accessibility was a major talking point during last year’s TCDSU elections. The eventual winner of the presidential election Leah Keogh said that “we need to be where students can be”.
She promised to either add a lift to the building or move the union to a more accessible location.
Trinity promised to invest a €482,364 grant from the government to make College more accessible.
The funding comes from a major €5.4 million fund for supporting students with disabilities across the country, announced by Higher Education Minister Simon Harris last January