Thursday, 2 December 2021
Department of Health
175. To ask the Minister for Health the reason the motorised transport grant and mobility allowance schemes are still discontinued eight years after their review was recommended; the reason no scheme has been implemented to replace them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53064/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 175 and 189 together.
The Government decided to close the Motorised Transport Grant and Mobility Allowance administrative Schemes in 2013. This was on foot of the reports of the Ombudsman in 2011 and 2012 regarding the legal status of both Schemes, in the context of the Equal Status Acts.
The Government also decided to continue payment of the monthly Mobility Allowance on an interim basis, to the 4,700 people who were in receipt of the Mobility Allowance at the time the Scheme was closed.
Other transport supports available to people with disabilities include;
- The Free Travel Scheme operated by the Department of Social Protection;
- The Revenue Commissioners' Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme; and
- Measures funded under the Department of Rural and Community Development CLAR Programme, to provide grants to voluntary organisations providing transport for people with significant mobility issues.
At the whole of Government level, the National Disability Inclusion Strategy 2017-2021 sets the overall framework for the equal participation of people with disabilities in society. Under the Strategy, the Department of Transport, has responsibility for the continued development of availability of accessible public transport and is committed to the continued development of accessible public transport in recognition of the importance of such services to the lives of people with disabilities.
Work is continuing on the policy proposals for the provision of transport supports for people with disabilities. Recent developments which will impact on the policy options include the following:
- The ongoing progress by the Department of Transport in providing accessible public transport nationally and that Department's review of active travel and public transport policy, including accessible public transport;
- The Department of Social Protection Cost of Disability Study which will inform policy direction in relation to the provision of adequate supports to meet the needs of people with disabilities, including transport costs;
- The Working Group established under Action 104 of the National Disability Inclusion Strategy which was established to lead a review of all Government funded transport and mobility schemes for people with disabilities; and
- The review of the Disabled Drivers and Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme by the Department of Finance.
The Government is committed to finding a long-term, equitable solution, which meets the transport needs of those people with disabilities, with the most significant challenges.