Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare South Fiona O’Loughlin has welcomed the news that 11,000 children under the age of 16 with severe disabilities will now have an automatic entitlement to a medical card.

Deputy O’Loughlin made the comments after the Dáil passed a motion which will ensure children who are in receipt of the Domiciliary Care Allowance will be granted a medical card.

“The Domiciliary Care Allowance is a vital family support which is in place to assist children with disabilities who require ongoing care and attention. It’s well acknowledged that children with disabilities have their own unique needs and it’s important that supports are provided to help meet such needs,” said Deputy O’Loughlin.

“In recent years we have had an unacceptable situation develop whereby children who are in receipt of the Domiciliary Care Allowance were not automatically entitled to a medical card. The HSE required their families to go through a tortuous application process, despite the fact that the state already acknowledged the serious disability issues which these children had.

“Fianna Fáil committed to ending this senseless practice in our General Election manifesto. We clearly stated that we would introduce an automatic medical card entitlement for children who are in receipt of the Domiciliary Care Allowance. We’ve now delivered on that commitment. 11,000 children who were previously denied a medical card will now receive one. Any child that is born with or develops a serious illness in the future will be automatically entitled to a card.

“This change will go a long way in helping assisting families who have children with disabilities. It’s important that this change is implemented without delay and this is something I will be monitoring in the coming months,” said Deputy O’Loughlin.