The sleepy roads of Offaly will come alive on Saturday, 26th September as Irish Wheelchair Association’s (IWA) annual Motoring Rally got into gear. The rally which takes place each September is the only event of its kind in Ireland, and is designed specifically for drivers and passengers with physical disabilities who drive their own adapted vehicles.
The event always attracts a large entry with over 40 participants take part in the 2015 event. There are several stages to the Motoring Rally which covered a total of 180 kilometres of roads. This year the activity was centred in Birr, Co. Offaly where drivers were presented with awards across five categories at a celebratory dinner in the County Arms Hotel.
Speaking about the event, Michael Doyle, IWA Director of Transport said:
For someone with a disability or reduced mobility, transport is frequently the key to unlocking independence and realising their full potential. When it comes to going out with friends, holding down a job, or going on a holiday, just getting there can often be the greatest challenge to overcome.
In this context, the services provided by IWA are a lifeline, opening up windows of possibility. Driving is not just a necessity for people with disabilities to access education or employment opportunities, the annual Motoring Rally proves that for many people driving can become a passion or hobby and a sport they can participate in alongside their peers.
Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) first established a school for drivers with disabilities in 1969. The driving tuition service was originally formed due to a dearth in public transport available and also to meet the needs of IWA members who wanted greater independence and freedom. Over the past 55 years, the Association has grown and expanded the driving tuition service, and alongside a dedicated National Mobility Centre based in Clane, Co. Kildare, a team of IWA approved driving instructors teach driving lessons from nine locations throughout Ireland.
IWA’s driving tuition service is one which the majority of the Association’s 20,000 members have engaged with at some stage in their lives. Last year, IWA provided lessons to 370 students supporting them to take up or return to driving.
Irish Wheelchair Association would like to thank Wheelchair Cars Ireland who are the main sponsors of the event.