Written answers

Thursday, 4 July 2024

Photo of Pauline TullyPauline Tully (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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101. To ask the Minister for Finance the status of the work that has been carried out to date in relation to a new modern, fit-for-purpose vehicle adaptation scheme to replace the mobility allowance and motorised transport grant that were both discontinued to new entrants in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28632/24]

Photo of Pauline TullyPauline Tully (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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116. To ask the Minister for Finance if he plans to increase the rates available to those eligible for the disabled drivers and disabled passengers scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28633/24]

Photo of Jack ChambersJack Chambers (Dublin West, Fianna Fail)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 101 and 116 together.

The Deputies should be aware that my Department and I share concerns that the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme (DDS) is no longer fit-for-purpose and believe it should be replaced with a needs-based, grant-led approach for necessary vehicle adaptations that could serve to improve the functional mobility of the individual as endorsed by the NDIS Transport Working Group in February 2023.

The Deputy should note that the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant are matters for the Department of Health, and therefore do not come within the policy remit of my Department. I cannot comment therefore on a replacement for such grant schemes as whilst my Department has oversight of the DDS, I do not have responsibility for disability policy.

I have no plans to make any changes to the DDS (including increasing the rates) as any changes would run counter to the National Disability & Inclusion Strategy (NDIS) proposals to replace the scheme in its entirety. This is in line with the general view that we need to move away from a medical criteria-based approach to a needs-based approach.

In relation to the replacement of the DDS, a Senior Officials Group under the aegis of the Department of Taoiseach with officials from relevant Departments and agencies was established to discuss the issues arising from the NDIS report and to map a way forward. One of these issues which is being examined is how the DDS can be replaced. Four meetings of the group have been held, in July, November, December 2023; and March 2024.

The Department of Finance submitted a note to the group with the approval of my predecessor Minister Michael McGrath in mid-January 2024. This note outlines a proposal for a replacement scheme for the DDS which would be a needs-based, grant-led approach for necessary vehicle adaptations that could serve to improve the functional mobility of the individual. This proposal is in line with what the NDIS Transport Working Group Report endorsed. Further consideration is being given to the principles and parameters for a new scheme in line with best international practice through the establishment of sub-group of the Department of Taoiseach working group. This sub-group will start its work shortly and is expected to report in the Autumn.

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