Fianna Fáil Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee has criticised the Government’s scrapping of the rehabilitative training allowance for people with disabilities. Senator Clifford-Lee said it was a cruel move which will see more than 400 people with disabilities miss out on a payment of €31.80 a week.

She explained, “The payment was introduced in 2001 when Micheál Martin was Minister for Health. It’s a comparatively inexpensive scheme designed to help people with disabilities develop life, social and basic work skills so that further education and employment options are more accessible to them.

“Yet Minister McGrath claims the money spent on the payment, estimated at approximately €3.7 million over four years, would be better spent on day service provision for people with disabilities. It’s a cruel and regressive step where he’s robbing Peter to pay Paul.

“I cannot understand how the Minister with responsibility for Disability can stand over a cut like this when he should be fighting for every penny and seeking additional funding to properly resource day service provision.

“This decision is thoughtless and harsh.  It’s an attack on the most vulnerable – and the savings will be minimal.  I acknowledge that the HSE has to operate within its budget but given the funding crisis in disability services, it is critical that we do not exacerbate that further”, concluded Senator Clifford-Lee.