Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon/Galway Eugene Murphy has hit out at the government for failing to bring forward amendments to legislation to make the tax relief for drivers and passengers with disabilities more accessible.

Deputy Murphy raised the matter through a recent PQ with the Minister for Health when he queried the number of people in counties Roscommon and Galway waiting for primary medical certificates.

“According to the PQ replies there were 184 applications for primary medical certs in Co Galway from January 2019 to date while there were 77 applications in Co Roscommon in the  same time period. The waiting time for medical assessment in Galway is 8 weeks but due to severe staffing shortages the waiting time has increased in Co Roscommon to over 12 weeks. Apart from these waiting periods I have also had several 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 Murphy.

“My Fianna Fáil colleague Niall Collins has also raised this issue with the Office of the Ombudsman. In fact, the Ombudsman had raised issues with the scheme with the Minister for Finance describing it as “overly rigid and inflexible”.  He also said that it “may well be causing inequity” 

“I am extremely disappointed that the Finance Minister has decided not to look into ways of making this scheme fairer for the people who need it.  So many people have been left deeply frustrated by the amount of red tape involved.  They have found the process extremely difficult, and in the end, have been unsuccessful”, said Deputy Murphy.

“This is a serious issue for people with disabilities and I, along with my party colleagues will continue to pursue this and will work to bring forward an amendment which can ensure that those who should be entitled to this tax relief can access it”, concluded Deputy Murphy.