Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Questions (161)

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

161. Deputy Eamon Gilmore asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection if she will consider extending the free travel scheme to those aged under 16 with moderate learning disabilities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46149/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

There are currently approximately 800,000 people in Ireland in receipt of free travel at an annual cost of €77 million per annum.

The free travel scheme is available to all people aged over 66 living permanently in the State. Applicants who are under age 66, including those with learning disabilities, must be in receipt of a qualifying payment in order to qualify for the scheme. The qualifying payments for those aged under 66 are invalidity pension, blind pension, disability allowance, carer’s allowance or an equivalent social security payment from a country covered by EC Regulations or one with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security Agreement.

On most transport services children under sixteen years of age are charged fares at special concessionary child rates.

Any decision to extend the free travel scheme to persons who are not in receipt of a primary qualifying payment would have budgetary consequences and would have to be considered in the context of budget negotiations.