Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister of State for Disabilities Finian McGrath to immediately prioritise government efforts to introduce a revised version of both the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant Schemes. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, confirmed to him during the Dáil Order of Business yesterday that legislation to reintroduce the Scheme will not be ready by the end of this Dáil session:
“The Taoiseach has essentially confirmed to me that getting the Motorised Transport Grant Scheme up and going is not a government priority.
I know from separate correspondence I received from Minister Finian McGrath that despite the closure of the Schemes three years ago it is still not possible to provide a date for the commencement of a new scheme.
In November of last year Minister McGrath informed me that the legislation required to introduce the new schemes was still only at draft stage.
Now the Taoiseach has confirmed that almost 7 months on that this is still the case.
This will come as a severe disappointment to all families who have been hit hard since the sudden closure of the Schemes three years ago.
What is extremely frustrating is that the Office of the Ombudsman formally notified the Department of Health about its concerns surrounding the original Schemes as far back as April 2011.
Then in 2013 the then Minister of State at the Department of Health, Kathleen Lynch told the Health Committee that she hoped the required comprehensive review required could be done in a shorter period than six months.
Yet here we are several years later and we are still only at the draft stage for the new policies.
This is not only absolutely outrageous, but it also very clearly speaks to the fact that regardless of what the government is saying, the return of the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grants are not a real priority.
I would once again plead with the Minister to immediately escalate the introduction of new legislation which will allow for the return of both Schemes.
There are thousands of vulnerable individuals who continue to be affected and who have already waited long enough for an appropriate government response,” concluded Deputy McGrath.