Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Niamh Smyth has called on the government to allow the travel pass to be used by service users in adult day services for those with special needs.

Changes are afoot which will require service users to pay for travel to their day services, something which traditionally has been provided at no cost in the area.

Deputy Smyth commented, “Changes, from April 1st, will result in travel costs of €960 per year to attend HSE services. It would be unfair to suddenly bring a cost of nearly €1k a year to anyone, let alone a service user whose capacity for work is limited.

“What is most disrespectful is that a letter informing parents and guardians was sent ten days before payment was expected. We are in a constituency with little to no public transport. We cannot allow the limited public transport options to be priced out of reach.

“I have been contacted by the families of services users in Drumlin House, Cootehill, County Cavan and Steadfast House in Carrickmacross, County Monaghan as just two case of the many who will be massively inconvenienced by the changes that are incoming.

“In Steadfast House, Carrickmacross we have also learned that users of the facility will have to pay €5 per day for lunch which was previously served at no cost. Over the course of a year this will be close to another €1k.

“The government must not allow these costs to be implemented. It simply cannot be afforded. If the changes are not reversed people with disabilities will not be able to attend these vital services and have to stay at home

“I am calling on the Taosieach to intervene. He must allow the travel pass to be used on routes to ensure service users can attend the centres,” concluded Deputy Smyth.