The Local and European Elections are fast approaching and IWA's community is getting ready. Hustings are being organised across the country, our Election Manifesto has been drawn up and now we'd like to tell you why it's so important to use your vote.

Will you be voting? 

Some people are of the view why bother voting, will it make any difference? 

But IWA Advocacy Manager, Joan Carthy emphasises that by voting you get a say on important issues that affect you. 

She adds: “If you don’t vote, other people get to choose who represents you.  Let candidates know you exist and if you are not satisfied tell them why.” 

“People who vote the least have the most to lose.” 

 Joan points out: “It is very important that people with disabilities vote for candidates who will work on issues that affect and concern them. We need to be part of the conversation and help to influence policy and decision making.” 

Voting is something member Teresa Gaughan feels very strongly about, 

Teresa, who also works with IWA on a CE scheme, believes it is very important to have your say at election time. 

“There is no point in being a backseat observer.  If you don’t vote you don’t have the right to be giving out about politicians, or the government of the day or the opposition. 

“If you have your say you feel like you have taken part, you have made your voice heard.” 

Unfortunately, many people with disabilities face barriers during the voting process but Teresa says this should not put people off. 

“If you know that your voting centre is not going to be accessible let your local council know and ask what they are going to do about it.” 

Aine McDonnell is another member who values her democratic right to vote and says that for those whose disability prevents them from voting in person there is the option of the postal vote instead to ensure that they have their voice heard. 

“A lot of polling stations are not accessible unfortunately, especially in rural areas,” she said. 

“I have a vision impairment and I find it very difficult.  The polling booths are usually too high, so I am usually put at a table which is open to view and doesn’t have privacy.” 

However, Aine is still always determined to vote, and her advice is to make plans for polling day so that if transport or assistance is needed you have it organised it beforehand. 

In advance of Election Day, Irish Wheelchair Association is organising a number of political hustings around the country, whereby local election candidates will be invited in to lay out their stall and discuss the issues that impact on the lives of our members. 

See below the locations already confirmed.  Please check with your centres for times, if not shown. 

IWA Waterford                  Monday May 13th 12-1pm 

IWA Portlaoise                Tuesday May14th 11.30am 

IWA Tipperary     Thursday May 16TH 1pm 

IWA Drogheda             Tuesday May 21st 1pm 

IWA Belmullet                   Wednesday May 22nd at 2.30pm

IWA Kilkenny                Thursday  May 23rd 12.15pm  

IWA Athlone                 Wednesday May 29th 11am 

IWA Navan                  Date TBC 

To make sure you are registered to vote in these elections go to You must be registered by Monday, May 20th 2024. 

If you are eligible, you can apply to be for a postal vote before May 11th 2024. Application forms are available on and from your local authority.