Sinn Féin spokesperson on Disabilities and Carers, Pauline Tully TD, has called on the government action to deliver a new transport scheme for people with disabilities.
Teachta Tully’s call comes following a report from the Ombudsman for Public Services, Ger Deering, highlighted the total lack of transport supports available to people with disabilities.
The Cavan/Monaghan TD said:
“It is estimated that by 2026, disabled people will account for 16% of the population and it is crucial that this cohort of society has access to transport supports to enable them to live fully independent lives.
“Without access to personal transport supports, many disabled people, especially those living in rural areas, cannot do what others take for granted, including working, visiting family and friends, shopping or any other aspect of life where mobility is essential.
“When the Government stopped entrance to new applicants for the mobility allowance and the motorised transport grant in 2013 they committed to developing an alternative scheme, but now ten years on there this has still not happened.
“The only other transport support available for disabled people, the disabled driver and passenger scheme, is no longer fit for purpose and does not meet the needs of a significant group of those with a disability and mobility impairment.
“This has been acknowledged by the Department of Finance who accepted that it was significantly divergent from best practice internationally and does not and will never operate to the standard expected of a 21st-century operational model.
“While this acknowledgement is welcome, what is needed now from government is action on putting in place a new 21st-century, fit-for-purpose scheme that alleviates transport costs that people with disabilities face, is not based on restrictive medical criteria, and that complies with the provisions of the Equal Status Act.”