Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Questions (185)

Martin Heydon


185. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Health the options open to persons who require financial support with mobility issues and car adaptations but are not in a position to pay up-front for such changes and claim tax relief; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28737/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Disabled Drivers and Passengers Tax Concession Scheme is operated by the Revenue Commissioners. The scheme provides a range of tax reliefs linked to the purchase and use of vehicles by disabled drivers and disabled passengers in Ireland.

There is no scheme which would provide finance to a person with a disability to purchase a car/vehicle where the individual cannot afford to purchase a car/vehicle as outlined by the Deputy.

There have been major developments in recent years in both Government policy and services for people with disabilities. The thrust of Government policy has been to improve accessibility to mainstream services for people with a disability through the removal of barriers and the provision of equal opportunities rather than to provide specialised, segregated services. The Department of Transport’s Sectoral Plan published under the Disability Act promotes the principle of mainstreaming by requiring accessibility to be an integral element of the public transport services. There are a number of Government Departments, State agencies, voluntary and community groups and transport operators (both public and private) involved in a range of aspects of transport policy, provision and funding. Significant improvements have already taken place in the accessibility of public transport and the Department of Social Protection provides for free public transport for people with disabilities and a companion.

In November 2013, the Government decided that the detailed preparatory work required for a new travel support payment and associated statutory provisions should be progressed by the Minister for Health. The Department of Health is working to progress this matter and will draw on the work, last year, of the Review Group on Transport Supports for People with Disabilities and the Inter-Departmental Group tasked by Government to consider this matter. Work is under way on the policy proposals to be brought to Government for the drafting of primary legislation for a new scheme.

The Mobility Allowance payment continues to be made to recipients of the allowance prior to it being closed last year. Those individuals continue to receive the same payment on a monthly basis, as before.