A potential visitor to Fermanagh has labelled the fact that Fermanagh and Omagh Council does not provide Changing Places toilet facilities as “appalling”.

Christine McClements from Coleraine has said that she had considered visiting the county with her family but that the lack of proper facilities for her disabled daughter means she would not travel to Fermanagh.

According to the website http://www.changing-places.org/ Changing Places toilets are equipped with extra facilities and space to allow people, some of whom have physical disabilities, to use the toilets safely and comfortably.

Northern Ireland has 31 Changing Places toilets with none in the Fermanagh and Omagh area. Additional equipment includes items such as hoists and larger areas for changing individuals.

“I was completely shocked when I saw that there were no changing places toilet facilities in Fermanagh and Omagh. Lots of areas have them. My own Council area has four and is planning a fifth. Other council areas have these facilities too. It is appalling that there are none in the Fermanagh and Omagh area,” Ms. McClements explained.

Mrs. McClements daughter, Lilia, is physically disabled with Mrs McClements explaining that these facilities offer her daughter dignity:

“It would put me off coming, we would not go to a place where Lilia’s dignity is compromised. The reality is that without a changing places toilet we would have to lay Lilia on a dirty toilet floor and change her. And we simply won’t do that. And in addition, it makes you feel as a family that you are unwelcome in an area. When councils and public bodies don’t see the need to provide these facilities it makes you wonder,” she said before adding that more must be done to ensure equality for all:

“Public bodies have a duty to set an example that others will follow. It is about treating people with dignity and respect and saying to all people ‘you are welcome here,’” she said.

Strictly speaking building regulation does not require the installation of changing places facilities in public buildings, although Mrs McClements says that will change in the future. But she argues that this issue is about what is right and wrong.

“Legislation is changing in both Scotland and England. But this is not really about legislation, people can hide behind that if they choose. The reality is that councils should be looking at doing what is right. It should be the expectation that these facilities are available at public events and on public property.”

The Impartial Reporter contacted the Council last week for a comment but at the time of going to press none had been received.