Fianna Fáil TD for Limerick Niall Collins has slammed the government for failing to bring forward amendments to legislation to make the tax relief for drivers and passengers with disabilities more accessible.

Deputy Collins raised the issue in the Dáil this week following correspondence from the Office of the Ombudsman, which raised concerns about the current scheme.

“I have had a number of people contact my office, angry and frustrated that despite their severe disabilities they have failed to secure the primary medical certificate needed to be approved for the tax relief for drivers and passengers with disabilities. This scheme provides a number of tax reliefs to help buy specially constructed or adapted vehicles”, said Deputy Collins.

“This is an issue that arises time and time again and I contacted the Office of the Ombudsman to highlight my concerns that people with genuinely severe disabilities are being refused access to this scheme. This has a major impact on their independence and the process itself can be very cumbersome and stressful.

“In his reply to me, the Ombudsman Peter Tyndall describes the current system as “overly rigid and inflexible” and goes on to say that it “may well be causing inequity”. He also stated that he had already raised these issues with the Department of Finance and has written to the Minister for Finance and the Minister with Special Responsibility for Disability Issues to express his concerns and to suggest that an amendment to the current scheme be made.

“The fact that no amendment has been forthcoming from the government is a clear indication that this is simply not a priority. This is a serious issue for people with disabilities and I, along with my party colleagues will continue to pursue this and with work to bring forward an amendment which can ensure that those who should be entitled to this tax relief can access it”, concluded Deputy Collins.