Addressing Campaign Active Network (CAN) representatives in Belfast this morning, Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson a member of the EU Disability Intergroup acknowledged the value of the work carried out by the European Disability Forum.

Ms Anderson said:

“There are 30 million People across Europe either blind or partially sighted.

“Earlier this year I voted in favour of a report on sound levels for motor vehicles proposing to amend legislation which would require car manufactures to equip their vehicles with what is known as Acoustic Vehicle Alert System (AVAS).

“Next February we are due to vote on better accessibility to websites of public bodies.

“Disabled people should have access, on an equal basis with the able bodied, to information and communication, including ICT systems and other facilities and services accessible to the general public.

“Most of us take access to information and online services for granted. More and more information and services are delivered online, resulting in people with sight loss being disproportionately affected through inaccessibility to websites.

“The Blind or partially sighted find the log in procedures to websites impossible to access – the procedure of “type what you see” to proceed on to a website is only of assistance to the sighted.

“There is an EU Commission Green Paper on preparing for a fully converged audio/visual world. Such a converged system is required as the online digital world and many goods and services including audio/visual works are still inaccessible to many blind and partially sighted people. This needs urgent attention”.