To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if all rights and opportunities in terms of access to disabled parking for carers and so on are extending to those who have been diagnosed with autism or who are on the autistic spectrum, considering that in the Disabilities Act it is classed as a sensory disability; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– Mattie McGrath.
* For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 19th October, 2016.
Ref No: 30998/16 Proof: 137
Answered by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport
It is not currently my intention to extend the Disabled Parking Permit scheme to the carers of those who have been diagnosed with autism or who are on the autistic spectrum.
The Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) Regulations 1997, as amended, provide for the operation of disabled person’s parking permits (also known as European Parking Cards) in Ireland. The Permit complies with EU Recommendation 98/376/EC. For the purposes of an EU parking permit, a disabled person is defined as “a person with a permanent condition or disability that severely restricts their ability to walk”.
In July 2010, my Department published a Review of the Disabled Parking Scheme which was conducted by the Department in co-operation with the issuing authorities, the Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland (DDAI) and the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA). One of the conclusions of the Review was that criteria for eligibility for the Scheme should be refocused from the type of disability to actual level of mobility impairment. The medical criteria for issue of the EU parking permit are strict and only persons whose mobility is severely and permanently restricted qualify.
I will however keep the criteria for those eligible under continuous review.