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Ireland West Becomes First Irish Airport to Sign Up to Global Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Movement

Ireland West Airport has become the first airport in Ireland to become members of the global Hidden Disabilities Sunflower.

Passengers with non-visible disabilities who choose to display the Sunflower will be provided with a free Sunflower Lanyard at the Customer Assistance Desk inside the Airport Terminal.

The Sunflower was first introduced in London’s Gatwick Airport in 2016, and since then is now recognised in over 220 international airports around the world. It lets passengers discreetly indicate that they may need support, understanding or a little extra time whilst navigating the airport, check in or security screening, or when boarding the aircraft. 

By providing Sunflower Lanyards to passengers, Ireland West Airport aims to make the airport experience as comfortable and stress-free as possible for those with hidden disabilities. All airport staff have received training to recognise the Sunflower and provide support and assistance to those wearing it.

The launch of the Sunflower at Ireland West Airport was supported by Hidden Disabilities Sunflower’s national charity partner in Ireland, Variety – the Children’s Charity, which presented 9-year-old Kyle Heanue, from Louisburgh, Co Mayo, with a special mobility trike as part of Variety Ireland’s ‘Recycle Mobility Programme’.

The initiative provides funding for special trikes to children with mobility issues across Ireland, so they can be included in cycling activities with their family and friends.

Joe Gilmore Manging Director of Ireland West Airport said: “Ireland West Airport are very proud to become the latest airport member of the global Hidden Disabilities Sunflower. The airport prides itself in providing an accessible facility and ensuring the airport experience is as comfortable and stress-free as possible for all those with hidden disabilities. I would like to acknowledge the work carried out by Sarah Rowley and our customer services and operation teams in particular along with our colleagues in Ryanair in supporting this initiative and working with the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower team to bring this to fruition. Going forward, we look forward to making the airport experience a memorable one for those passengers wearing the sunflower.”

Derek O’Neill CEO of Variety – the Children’s Charity of Ireland said: “As a national charity that recognises and helps children across the disability spectrum, Variety Ireland are delighted to be here at Ireland West Airport today to present a special trike to Kyle from Co Mayo. With the magnificent on-going support of Minister Anne Rabbitte, together we are championing the cause that children regardless of their ability can have access and be included in cycling activities with their friends and family. The fact that Ireland West Airport now recognise the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower demonstrates their own commitment to recognising and helping children with disabilities traveling through this fantastic airport.”

Geoff Percival
Geoff Percival
Geoff has worked in business, news, consumer and travel journalism for more than 25 years; having worked for and contributed to the likes of The Irish Examiner, Business & Finance, Business Plus, The Sunday Times, The Irish News, Senior Times, and The Sunday Tribune.

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