Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Disabilities, Colm Keaveney TD, has blasted the Government for failing to replace two support schemes for people with disabilities which were scrapped early last year.
The Mobility Allowance and the Motorised Transport Grant were closed to new applicants from February 2013. The Fine Gael and Labour Government promised in June 2013 that these schemes would be replaced.
He commented: “There was outcry when the Government scrapped these two important supports for people with disabilities last year. Twenty months later we are still waiting as the Government has failed to bring forward an alternative support scheme. It is completely unacceptable that a year later, these most vulnerable people are in limbo still waiting for a replacement scheme.
“It is deplorable that almost 5,000 people who are on these schemes still face uncertainty 20 months later, while many more have been unable to apply since February 2013.
“The question must be asked again – does the Government hope that these people will simply go away? People with disabilities have waited far too long for the supports they need. It is not good enough that they are left to put up with interim and temporary measures.
“Minister Kathleen Lynch said at the time steps would be taken to establish an alternative scheme. This again comes down to choices, the Fine Gael and Labour Government said at the time that it would be too expensive to expand the schemes for over 65s.
“The Minister has now failed to secure funding for this scheme which is a sad reflection of where the priorities of this Government lie, where tax breaks for the well-off take precedence over payments for some of our most disadvantaged citizens.”