Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle slams Government delays in replacing mobility allowance scheme

Pringle slams Government delays in replacing mobility allowance scheme

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, has slammed the Government for ongoing delays in replacing the mobility allowance scheme, calling the minister out of touch with people with disabilities in rural areas.

Deputy Pringle said: “This scheme has been stopped for years at this stage and is no nearer to a replacement.”

The deputy submitted a parliamentary question to the Minister for Health, to ask when he will bring forward the replacement of the scheme. In response, the Department acknowledged that the Government closed the Motorised Transport Grant and Mobility Allowance schemes in 2013 on foot of Ombudsman reports regarding the schemes’ legal status in the context of the Equal Status Acts.

The Department said work was continuing on policy proposals for the provision of transport supports for people with disabilities.

They also reported on ongoing Department of Transport work to provide accessible public transport nationally and the department’s review of active travel and public transport policy, the Cost of Disability Study commissioned by the Department of Social Protection, and the Department of Finance commitment to review the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme.

The department’s response also referenced the working group to lead a review of all government-funded transport and mobility schemes for people with disabilities, which was reconvened late last month.

Deputy Pringle said: “The response shows how out of touch the minister is with rural people with disabilities if he thinks the ongoing provision by the Department of Transport is a solution, and the rest are reports that are still awaited.”

The deputy has also raised the issue in the Dáil, calling on the government to replace the scheme as soon as possible and calling the delays in its replacement “a disgrace”.