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Campus Accessibility

UCD is committed to making its campus, its information and its goods and services accessible to everyone.

The Disability Act 2005 sets out the legal requirements for public sector bodies to be accessible to everyone.

The Act requires that a Campus Accessibility Officer oversees and liaises with the University's personnel to provide accessible goods and services for everyone's use.

Tina Lowe

Campus Accessibility Officer

Access and Lifelong Learning

Campus Accessibility

Campus Accessibility is about the creation of a campus that can be used by everybody, irrespective of ability or disability.

The role of Campus Accessibility Officer, Tina Lowe, is to advise and guide the University in its duties under the Disability Act 2005. This act requires public bodies to ensure that buildings and services are universally accessible to staff, students and visitors with disabilities.

The Campus Accessibility Officer oversees action plans to incorporate accessibility to buildings and services in line with best practice in universal access and design.


Please contact the Campus Accessibility Officer, Tina Lowe, if you have any requests in relation to the provision of accessible goods and services or if you wish to bring to the attention any issues in relation to access the campus ((opens in a new window)tina.lowe@ucd.ie).

An audit, conducted in 2013, identified areas for improvement to the built environment in UCD and priority works are currently being implemented. Works completed to date include major improvements to the concourse around the campus; automation of entrances and exit doors to buildings and new disabled parking bays. Work will continue over the coming years to progress UCD towards its goal of an accessible campus for all.

Example of disabled parking bay:

Disable parking space example

A pilot scheme of reduced mobility parking spaces is being launched for the remainder of the calendar year 2023.

A number of parking spaces across parking areas in UCD Belfield have been designated as restricted and reserved for holders of a Reduced Mobility Parking Disk. 

Applicants can download the application form below for completion by themselves and their GP/Consultant and the disk is valid for a period of 3 months. All holders must hold a current and valid UCD Parking Permit for the periods the reduced mobility permit is in place. 

(opens in a new window)Application Form 

Completed applications should be returned to (opens in a new window)estates@ucd.ie

For more information, please visit UCD Estates

In 2015, an internal accessibility signage tender was awarded to an architectural company to conduct a detailed survey of the nine audited buildings with designs for each sign type, drawings showing layout, size & position of each sign and a document that could be issued to suppliers of signage for pricing. In addition to compliance with the Disability Act 2005, Part M Building Control Regulations 2010 and the Building Controls Act 2007, signage should follow the NDA Building for Everyone guidelines.

The scope of the signage project covers:

  • Step-free accessible routes
  • Refuge areas
  • Floor levels
  • Directions to lifts
  • Accessible sanitary facilities

The outcome of the project is designed to:

  • Reduce featured destinations to key locations,
  • Strengthen route choices for both wheelchair and abled access equally,
  • Provide clear visuals and clarity for the visually impaired.

Design principles:

  • Effective universal signage should be normalized and consistent,
  • Intuitive, self-navigable and easily read.

The wayfinding strategy is based on well-structured colour coded navigation guides with signs at all decision points, with the aim to provide the following reassurance:

  1. I know where I am,
  2. I know where my destination is,
  3. I know that I am following the right route and
  4. I know that I have arrived at my destination.

Example of Accessible Signage - Newman Building

Example of Accessible Signage in Newman

What is a (opens in a new window)Guide dog?

A guide dog is a working dog trained to assist blind and partially sighted people.

When a guide dog is born the puppy is brought to the guide dog centre and the guide dog trainers begin looking at the litter to see what traits each puppy has.

The puppies are then raised by puppy walkers who take each puppy from the age of 8 weeks to live with them and be socialized.

Each puppy learns social skills, toilet training, how to stop at steps, how to navigate the outdoor environment and walk on a lead and how to interact in public spaces including transport and shopping centres, and any other public amenities. The various public amenities teach the puppy in training about noises, smells, crowds of people, other dogs, children and how to negotiate different settings. 

The puppy is then brought to the guide dog centre at the age of 14 months where they will begin their training.

The training includes the early training unit and advanced training, and then the puppy is chosen for guide dog training if the guide dog trainer has assessed and passed the puppy on each stage of training.

The guide dog in training then learns how to guide and the guide dog trainer then matches the guide dog to a blind person. The matching process involves assessing where the blind person lives, where they work or study, if they live in a built up area, if they live in a quiet area, how fast they walk, and how many routes they may do so it is a very intricate and complicated process.

The matched partnership of the guide dog and blind person commences by travelling to the centre to begin working with the guide dog. This training involves learning route training, learning to give commands to the guide dog, learning dog psychology, hygiene and grooming of the guide dog, feeding and dietary requirements, training in the centre and then in the person’s home and work environment.

The guide dog is a working dog so it must follow strict rules which include not being fed by members of the public, being groomed, being checked regularly by the vet, and working routes that both the guide dog and owner have learned.

The guide dog must use the guide dog enclosure or toilet area in UCD as part of the training (see guide dog enclosure area).

The guide dog must not be approached by the public when working.

Always ask the owner if it is ok to say hello to the guide dog, however when the guide dog and owner are working please do not disturb the partnership as the guide dog has been trained to work a specific route, and for safety and concentration on behalf of both the guide dog owner and guide dog it is best not to approach or interrupt the working partnership.

A guide dog enclosure is a toilet area located to the left of the entrance at the James Joyce Library building.

This area is solely for the purpose of enabling your guide dog to relieve themselves.

Fully Accessible Guide Dog Enclosure for guide dogs to relieve themselves.

Each guide dog owner is responsible for picking up and disposing of their guide dogs’ excrement.

There is a gate which must remain closed and shut after each guide dog owner and their guide dog has used the area.

There is a sign which clearly states that this area is only for guide dog owners use.

Front gate of guide dog enclosure stating it is for guide dogs

The area is divided into two sections, one has fake grass for the guide dogs to relieve themselves on and the other side is a paved area with Bally lusk accessible paving for the guide dog owner to stand on while their guide dog is using the facility.

Accessible paving in the guide dog enclosure area


General Tips


  • When you meet a blind person make sure to introduce yourself and ask if the person would like any assistance.
  • Always speak directly to the blind person when guiding them
  • If the blind person states that they would like help, ask how they like to be guided. Normally the options are by taking your elbow or resting their hand on your shoulder

How to guide a blind person around a building

  • Inform them where they are in the building
  • When approaching a door, place the person’s hand on the door handle and allow them to pull the door to them so they know where the door is in the room
  • Inform the person when you are approaching a step, and always state if it is up or downwards
  • When you enter into a space, such as an office, inform the person about the layout of the space, and then guide them to a seat
  • Place their hand on the back of the seat so that they can then sit into the it independently
  • If you are giving the person a cup or glass place it in their hand
  • Always remember to let the person know if you are leaving the room

How to guide a blind person outside

  • Give your elbow or shoulder to the blind person to guide them
  • When guiding a person, remember to inform them when you are approaching steps or kerbs, and tell whether they go up or down. Inform them about any obstacles on the route - an example could be, “We are now approaching some steps up, there is a railing on your left. We are at the top now and we will walk straight ahead”.
  • If you have to walk through a narrow space inform the blind person and ask them to tuck in behind your elbow so that you walk in a single file until the narrow part of the route widens out again
  • Don’t forget to say goodbye. Don’t walk away from the blind person without saying you are leaving or moving away

Digital accessibility means that everyone can access websites, mobile apps, smart tvs, and mobile phones regardless of their disabilities.

These would include fine motor or dexterity controls such as injuries or neurological issues.

Accessibility enhancements would include large print, voice recognition technology,  Alternate Text, screen reading technology, ensuring that there is sufficient contrast between texts and colour contrast and braille displays.

ICT is fundamentally important for teaching, learning, research and administration. UCD Access & Lifelong Learning and IT Services are working together to identify deficiencies in the existing systems and are working to address them.

An assistive technology for staff project has been established, to explore ways of creating AT awareness for staff in UCD.  The following link is to the webpage aimed at staff to create awareness on assistive technology and how it can assist UCD staff in their work. 

Promoting awareness of accessibility issues and the needs of staff and students with disabilities is vital to ensure the entire UCD community is aware of and supportive of the accessibility agenda. Work continues with colleagues to create awareness of the diverse needs of the campus population.

Section 38 of the Act enables any person by themselves, or through any person defined under Section 9 (2) of the Act, to make a complaint in writing to the UCD Inquiry Officer in relation to the failure of the University to comply with sections 25, 26, 27, 28 or 29 of the Act. More information on making Complaints Under the Disability Act 2005 here. 

Follow these simple guidelines to make documents accessible: (opens in a new window)Guidelines for Writing Accessible Documents

“Building for Everyone – a Universal Design approach” from the National Disability Authority: (opens in a new window)Building for Everyone

Assistive Technology tools to assist reading of content; to enhance clarity of content; to assist with creation of content and to assist with thought processing: (opens in a new window)Assistive Technology tools

Staff disability Network

Car parking facilities for disability permit holders: there are a number of blue bay parking spots which can be found on the following link: (opens in a new window)https://ucdestates.ie/commuting/disabled

Accessible bathroom facilities:

There are (opens in a new window)accessible bathroom facilities located throughout the campus. In addition there are bathrooms with (opens in a new window)changing room facilities.

University for All is a whole-institution, evidence-based approach to mainstreaming equity and inclusion in UCD, ensuring that all students feel welcome, belong, and are valued. This initiative is sponsored by the Registrar and Deputy President of UCD, Professor Barbara Dooley, is governed by the University Widening Participation Committee, chaired by Professor John Brannigan, and is led by UCD Access and Lifelong Learning.

The University for all initiative is rooted in the (opens in a new window)UCD Strategy 2020-2024: Rising to the Future, the EDI Strategy and Action Plan 2018 - 2020 - 2025, and the Education and Student Success Strategy (UCD 2021), and recognises, promotes and values every student with the aim to create an inclusive educational environment for all students. The University for All initiative works across Policy, Strategy, Teaching and Learning, Student Supports and Services, the Built Environment and the Technology Infrastructure. We promote access and inclusion as everyone’s business.

What is an Induction Loop Sound System?

An induction loop is a sound system for individuals who use hearing aids. Audio induction loops (sometimes called hearing loops) are a very helpful way to provide hearing aid users with equitable access to sound amplification in public / busy settings, for instance lecture theatres, community halls, and even cinemas. A common challenge for hearing aid users in crowded settings if that their hearing aids amplify all sound, including often frustrating background noises such as people whispering or pages rustling. An induction loop allows the hearing aid user to tune into a specific audio feed, for instance a microphone at the front of a lecture hall, or the sound output from a screen. Induction loops essentially streamline sound directly into the hearing aid user's ears. Hearing induction loops are an essential assistive technology that can be used by any hearing aid user provided their T Coils are activated. The provision of hearing induction loops is a clear example of universal design as they can be accessed by any hearing aid user without disclosure of their disability or additional technological assistance, they are the most device agnostic iteration of audio amplification for hearing loss, and are a globally recognised hearing support with a universally understood sign to denote their availability.

Information technology worldwide has been increasing in its use over the past number of years.  In order to ensure that everyone has equal access to Information technology several pieces of legislation have been enacted.

WCAG-(worldwide consortium accessibility guidelines)  is a global standard for digital information

The latest version of WCAP 2.1

There are three levels of accessibility, A- is the minimal , AA- very good level of accessibility, AAA- is the highest level of accessibility.

The criteria used to determine accessibility is use of colour contrast, labelling or tagging headings and images, captioning.

EU Accessibility Directive:

National and regional administrations, schools and universities are covered under this directive. In Ireland, the Disability Act 2005, sets out how public sector bodies must make their information technology accessible  to all users. The EU directive is equivalent to WCAG 2.1 standard, the directive covers website accessibility, mobile apps, e-commerce, banking, travel and retail systems.

(opens in a new window)EU Web Accessibility Directive