Thursday, 30 May 2013

Questions (272, 282)

Robert Dowds


272. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Health if he will provide an update on plans for a replacement for the motorised transport and mobility grants for disabled persons, following the recent decision to close the existing schemes because they were operating unlawfully. [26309/13]

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Michael Healy-Rae


282. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health further to the abolition of the mobility allowance and the motorised transport grant, if he will ensure that there is an immediate way of supporting the persons who are affected by this basic right, which is to be mobile and which at present is being jeopardised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26410/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 272 and 282 together.

Following detailed consideration arising from the position of the Ombudsman regarding the legality of the mobility allowance and motorised transport grant schemes, the Government decided in February that the schemes could no longer continue and that an alternative must be devised. An independently chaired Review Group is seeking solutions which will not run counter to the Equal Status Acts. The Review Group's interim report regarding the immediate issue of the closure of the schemes is now under consideration by Government. A final report looking at the wider issue of general transport for people with disabilities will be submitted by the Review Group in June.

At this stage, I am not in a position to pre-empt any decision Government may make. However, I can assure the Deputies that the Government is aware of the needs of those relying on these supports and will take all of this into consideration when making a decision on future arrangements.