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Snippet Contents:

The Deputy has our commitment that we will look at setting up a departmental working group for this matter, which I think is the next logical step. I agree with the Deputy. There are 187 such facilities in Scotland, as far as I am aware, and 1,300 across the UK. As the Deputy mentioned, there are more mandatory guidelines in place in those jurisdictions.
The accompanying technical guidance document to Part M of the building regulations, dealing with its access and use, came into effect on 1 January 2012. It sets out the minimum statutory requirements that a building must achieve in respect of access. Under Part M, there is a requirement to ensure that "regardless of age, size or disability", these accessibility issues are resolved.
Part M of the building regulations aims to foster an inclusive approach to the design and construction of the built environment, and while Part M requirements may be regarded as a statutory minimum level of provision, the accompanying technical guidance encourages building owners and designers to have regard to the design philosophy of universal design and to consider making additional provisions where practical and appropriate.
Our Department will look at the possibility of setting up a departmental working group to examine this issue and the required changes under Part M. The Deputy is Chair of the Joint Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage, and that can give us a good way forward to progress this matter. We have an opportunity to progress the matter and make the necessary amendments to Part M. I commend the Deputy on bringing the issue to the Dáil, and we can make progress on it over the next number of months.