Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Deputy Pearse Doherty has today heavily criticised the Government over its ongoing failure to replace both the Motorised Transport Grant and Mobility Allowance Schemes.
The grants, which were previously paid to people with disabilities in order to help them meet their transport and mobility needs, were closed to new applicants back in 2013 with payments made to existing recipients of the latter to continue pending the establishment of a new dedicated Transport Support Scheme.
However, despite repeated government pledges to replace the schemes it has now been revealed that a memorandum, which was to be brought to government on proposals to introduce a replacement scheme, was subsequently withdrawn from the agenda of last month’s cabinet meeting, placing its future in doubt.
Deputy Doherty said: “Both the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant were scrapped back in February 2013 as part of the government’s austerity policies during the financial crash.
“This meant that these schemes, which were originally set up to assist people commute to work, gain employment or to simply get around were no longer available to new applicants.
“And despite repeated calls on the Government from Sinn Féin TDs to establish a long awaited replacement scheme, here we are over five years on and no such new payments scheme has yet been introduced.
“And so while legacy recipients of the Mobility Allowance Grant have continued to receive payments from the HSE, on an interim basis pending the establishment of a new Transport Support Scheme, countless others have been unfairly prevented from accessing supports to enable them to meet their mobility needs.
“Now, following correspondence from the Minister for Health in reply to a Parliamentary Question which I tabled earlier this month to query when we can expect such a new scheme to be introduced, it’s now been revealed that a Memorandum to Government on proposals for a new Transport Support Payment Scheme was withdrawn from last month’s cabinet agenda.
“Instead, the official line from Government is that revised proposals on the new scheme will be brought to Cabinet in due course.
“This is a shocking revelation and is yet further illustrates a complete dereliction by Government of its duties and responsibilities in respect of persons with disabilities.
“People with disabilities and those unable to walk are at a heightened risk of exclusion from the workforce and social isolation yet. After more than five years, the Government continues to peddle the same spin that it is working on introducing a suitable replacement scheme despite no evidence of any progress – this is simply not good enough.”Tags: