The lanyard is intended to alert County staff that the person wearing it has a hidden disability and may need extra assistance with whatever they want to do.
People with non-visible disabilities living in or visiting County Wicklow are able to collect a Sunflower Lanyard free of charge from any of the public offices or libraries.
Welcoming the announcement, Cllr Tommy Annesley, Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, said he was proud to officially launch the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyard in Wicklow County Council. This was especially relevant given that World Autism Awareness Day had just passed. He wished local group Triple A Alliance continued success in spreading the availability of the lanyards in other public buildings and businesses around County Wicklow and thanked the Department of Rural and Community Development for providing funding for the initiative through the Community Enhancement Programme
Emer O’Gorman, Chief Executive, Wicklow County Council, joined with Cllr Tommy Annesley in welcoming the initiative stating, “it is a great achievement that Wicklow County Council is the first County Council in Ireland to recognise the Sunflower across all of its public offices and libraries.”
This had come about because of the tireless efforts of Triple A Alliance Group to promote the Sunflower Lanyard, especially Aisling Foran who had been the forefront in working with the Community Enhancement Programme Team in Community Cultural & Social Development to ensure registration of Wicklow County Council in the Sunflower Lanyard Initiative.
O’Gorman added, “I would also like to thank Tristan Casson-Rennie, Regional Director, Ireland & Northern Ireland for Hidden Disabilities Sunflower for his support for Wicklow County Council and Triple A Alliance during the organisation of the scheme in the Council. Awareness training is available to all staff and I am confident that Hidden Disability Sunflower Lanyard wearers will feel comfortable in interacting with staff in Wicklow County Council and Library Service.”
Michael Nicholson, Director of Services for Community Cultural & Social Development, said he was especially delighted to welcome the commencement of the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyard in Wicklow County Council stating, “the Library Service in Wicklow has been proactive in providing sensory facilities where possible for its members. And it is no surprise to me that the County Librarian Brendan Martin and his staff have been especially welcoming to taking the Sunflower lanyard on board.”
Rebecca Galligan of Triple A Alliance thanked Wicklow County Council and its staff for their commitment towards making Wicklow an inclusive place for all and stated, “the introduction of the Sunflower lanyard across County Wicklow is a first for a county, and a huge leap for inclusion. For many years we in Wicklow Triple A Alliance have campaigned for inclusion and equality for the hidden aspects of autism which can often cause so much unintended stigma. The beauty of this system is that it includes all persons who have a hidden (or obvious) disability and goes to show that a little can go a long way when people work together.”
“We look forward to the next phase of this project and thank the many businesses and organisations who have reached out to join us in becoming a Sunflower supporter. We are currently in contact with other Councils who wish to make their counties more inclusive by recognising the Sunflower system.”
Tristan Casson-Rennie, Regional Director, Ireland & Northern Ireland for Hidden Disabilities Sunflower said, “I am delighted that Wicklow County Council and Triple A Alliance have worked together on this joint venture to introduce this initiative. Wicklow County Council becomes the first County Council in Ireland to recognise the Sunflower across all of its public offices and libraries.”
Source: Wicklow County Council