Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Disability Margaret Murphy O’Mahony TD has criticised Minister Finian McGrath for failing to push for the retention of the Rehabilitative Training Allowance in Budget 2020.

The government scrapped the payment for new entrants last month, creating an imbalance among students.

Deputy Murphy O’Mahony explained, “The omission of the Rehabilitative Training Allowance in the Budget is a major oversight and has left a very sour taste in the mouths of young people with disabilities. This programme costs a mere €3.7m over a four-year period; it is not a lot to ask but it makes a huge difference to the lives of the young people who participate in it.

“The allowance gives people with disabilities the opportunity to develop their social skills and learn new skills, giving them a boost when it comes to employment opportunities. It also boosts their confidence levels.

“I have seen the benefits of this programme first hand. On a recent visit to Bantry National Learning Network Centre I chatted with the students who had nothing but good things to say about the programme. They’re now worried that other young people won’t have the same opportunities that they have been given because the allowance has been discontinued.

“Minister McGrath had an opportunity to show that he was serious about empowering people with disabilities, but he has simply let them down. This allowance maximises the return for the State and it provides great opportunities to people with disabilities.

“The fact that the Minister failed to fight for the Rehabilitative Training Allowance tells us everything we need to know about this government – plenty of rhetoric but very little delivery. The disability sector has been badly let down”, concluded Deputy Murphy O’Mahony.