Written Answers. - Disabled Drivers.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

209 Mr. Morgan asked the Minister for Health and Children if, in view of the fact that some applications for the disabled drivers and passengers scheme cannot be processed at local level, and probably not at a regional level due to a review currently being carried out by the Revenue Commissioners, he will indicate his views on the seriousness of this situation; the action he will take in this regard; if he will examine the case of a person (details supplied) in County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15162/02]

The disabled drivers and disabled passengers (tax concessions) regulations, 1994 were drawn up by the Minister for Finance and come under the remit of the Revenue Commissioners. The Department of Health and Children has no statutory responsibility for the regulations or their operation.

To qualify, a person must meet the medical criteria specified in the above regulations which are not set by the Department of Health and Children. The senior area medical officer for the relevant health board area will issue a primary medical certificate if he-she is satisfied that the applicant fulfils the medical criteria set out in the Department of Finance's disabled drivers and disabled passenger (tax concessions) regulations, 1994. This role is to assist the operation of the Revenue scheme.

As the Deputy is aware, a review of the above scheme is being chaired by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. I understand that the work of this group is at an advanced stage and when it has completed its work it will submit its report to the Minister for Finance for consideration. With regard to the matter raised by the Deputy concerning the processing of applications and the case of an individual applicant, my Department has asked the chief executive officer of the North Eastern Health Board to investigate this matter and reply directly to the Deputy.