As the Deputy is aware, following a ruling by the European Court of Justice in April 2013 and subsequent negotiations with the European Commission, the excise relief on fuel element of the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers scheme will be discontinued from the 31st December 2014. Arrangements will be made during the year to provide for a new fuel grant scheme for disabled drivers which will have the same levels of support as the current excise relief scheme and there will be a seamless transition between the two schemes. The new fuel grant scheme will begin on 1 January 2015, following the discontinuation of the current scheme.
As I have previously said, I intend that the new fuel grant scheme will have the same levels of support as the current excise relief scheme. The current scheme provides a relief from excise duty for fuel used in a qualifying vehicle for the transport of a person with a disability up to a maximum of 2,728 litres in a 12 month period.
The eligibility and qualification criteria will remain as those provided for by the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Regulations 1994 (S.I. No. 353 of 1994). The cost of the excise relief scheme in 2013 was €7.7m. As I intend the levels of support of the new fuel grant scheme to be same as the excise relief scheme, I do not anticipate any change to the cost.