Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Questions (877, 881, 911, 916, 972, 982, 1023, 1036)

Billy Timmins

Question:

877. Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the mobility allowance and the motorised transport grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26675/13]

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Willie O'Dea

Question:

881. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Health the procedures in place to support those persons affected by the cessation of the mobility allowance scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27605/13]

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Denis Naughten

Question:

911. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health his plans for the mobility allowance and the motorised transport grant in view of the project review group interim report; the recommendations in the interim report; if he will provide an update on plans to replace these schemes; when he expects to receive the final report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27294/13]

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Sandra McLellan

Question:

916. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Health the date on which the project review group report on mobility allowance will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27311/13]

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Pearse Doherty

Question:

972. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health if he will provide an update on the work being carried out by the project group appointed by him on 27 February 2013 to review the motorised transport grant and mobility allowance schemes; when he expects the review to be completed and new schemes put in place; his views on whether the review process will be complete prior to the current schemes ending; if he will reassure those currently in receipt of payments under these schemes that they will continue to receive their payments until the new schemes are put in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27022/13]

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Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

982. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health in view of the fact that final payments have now been received, his plans for the mobility allowance and the motorised transport grant; the way recipients will be affected when current payments are scheduled to cease; if the review group has reported; the recommendations of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27403/13]

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David Stanton

Question:

1023. Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health the progress that has been made in developing replacement payments and supports for persons who are in receipt of mobility allowance and motorised transport grants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27746/13]

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Seamus Kirk

Question:

1036. Deputy Seamus Kirk asked the Minister for Health if he is planning a replacement scheme for the mobility allowance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27895/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 877, 881, 911, 916, 972, 982, 1023 and 1036 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. The Government decided that payments of Mobility Allowance would continue for a further four months to those already in receipt. An independently chaired Review Group was tasked to seek 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 under consideration by Government. 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 people with a disability relying on individual payments which support choice and independence and will take all of this into consideration when making a decision on future arrangements.