A number of Council buildings across Northern Ireland will light up to mark World Down’s Syndrome Day tonight, thanks to the proactive measures of the Alliance Party.
Belfast City Council, Ards and North Down and Lisburn and Castlereagh will all light up blue and yellow, marking the 11th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day, a day aimed at raising awareness of those who live and work with the condition.
Councillor Sian O’Neill – who will be marking the event at Belfast City Hall later – said it was important to draw attention to how we help those with Down’s Syndrome fulfil their full potential.
She added: “We must also use this opportunity to call for improved facilities and resources for those who have Down’s Syndrome and other learning disabilities – especially as a recent decision to cut the nursery provision offered to children with special education needs will negatively impact the lives of hundreds of families across Northern Ireland.
“As the aunty of a little boy who lives with Down’s Syndrome, I’m delighted to be able to mark this special day and look forward to joining Kerry Robles – the mother of a little boy with Down’s Syndrome – whose petition initiated the lighting scheme at City Hall.”
Councillor Kellie Armstrong added: “I’m delighted to be joining Sian in ensuring we raise awareness of this important issue and I’ll be joining the North Down and Ards Down’s Syndrome group as they host their annual Park walk in Bangor.
“It is important we combat the stigma association with the condition, making sure the voices of those who have Down’s Syndrome are heard.
“But it’s not just about lighting up Council buildings, with Alliance activists across Northern Ireland also wearing odd socks to raise awareness of the condition.
“Today is also International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. We can all be thankful to Anna Lo as her work has already made Northern Ireland a more inclusive society – but there is still more work to do and Alliance is committed to continuing her work during the next Assembly term.”