The information requested by the Deputy is not available in my Department either in respect of applications in each health board area or in respect of total applications for a primary medical certificate in the time available. I have asked the Department of Health and Children to write to the relevant health boards requesting this information, and I will forward it to the Deputy when it has been made available.
My Department is not involved in the operation of the disabled drivers medical board of appeal but I am informed that, in 2003, there were 251 appeals lodged to the board which held three half day meetings in 2003, and examined 25 appellants over the course of these meetings, seven of whom were successful in their appeal. There is a waiting time of over two years to be seen by the board. I am advised that the backlog of appeals approximately 500 is caused by a number of factors, in particular the general increase in applications for a primary medical certificate, and the significant number of persons who are aware that they do not meet the medical criteria specified in the regulations but who nevertheless insist on exercising their right of appeal. This is an indication of the level of demand for the tax relief under the scheme. To date, the board has held all meetings in Dublin, with the exception of two meetings that were held in Cork in 1995 and 1998.