Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Disability Margaret Murphy O’Mahony has slammed the government for dragging its heels on the introduction of a replacement of the Mobility Allowance. The last Fine Gael-Labour coalition axed the grant in 2013 but promised to introduce a replacement scheme. Five years later and families across the country are still waiting.
Deputy Murphy O’Mahony explained, “Tuesday marks the 5th anniversary of the abolition of the Mobility Allowance, and despite promise after promise, consecutive Fine Gael led governments have failed to deliver on an alternative scheme for people with disabilities. Thousands of people across the country are now dependent on family and friends to help them get from A to B because there are no similar supports available to them. This has resulted in a loss of independence and feelings of frustration, which could’ve have easily been avoided had a replacement scheme been announced.
“In 2013, the government recommended that preparatory work for a replacement travel subsidy scheme should be progressed by the Minister for Health. Since then we have seen the issue delayed time and time again; in 2014 publication of a Health (Transport Support) Bill was promised for 2015, that was pushed out to 2016. It was then due to undergo Pre-Legislative Scrutiny in the autumn of 2016 but we are still awaiting its publication in 2018.
“It’s shocking to think that 5 years on from the abolition of the original scheme, when a promise was made to replace it that we are still waiting for the government to take action. Disability issues are clearly not a priority despite what Ministers Harris and McGrath may say. The lack of information about a new scheme is typical of the attitude of this government which is more concerned with its own image than progressing essential schemes which have the potential to improve the lives of thousands of people with disabilities across this country”.