Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection and Social Equality, Willie O’Dea TD, says the temporary retention of the Mobility Allowance payment adds to the huge uncertainty for thousands of disabled people.
Deputy O’Dea commented: “The axing of the Mobility Allowance and the Motorised Transport Grant in February shocked all of those in receipt of the grant and those working with disabled people. There was no advance warning, no consultation and no engagement with groups who represent those in receipt of the grants that stand to lose 20% of their means tested income.
“At the time, the Government decided to take the easy option of scrapping the schemes altogether instead of addressing the issues that were raised by the Ombudsman.
“Now, we hear that there is to be a temporary extension of the scheme, but in fact, the Mobility Allowance and the Motorised Transport Scheme have been closed to new applicants.
“It is also a matter of concern that the retention of the scheme cannot be guaranteed until after October. The announcement by Minister Kathleen Lynch perpetuates the uncertainty for disabled people. The sword is still hanging over their head and I am urging Minister Lynch to find a statutory solution to this problem as a matter of urgency.
“Any proposed new scheme needs to include those over 65 and I would sincerely hope this is done sooner rather than later. How can people plan ahead for adjustments to their home to cater for their disability if they are not guaranteed payment beyond October?
“In the past 12 months, there have been cuts to Home Help Hours, Personal Assistance Grants, the Domiciliary Care Allowance and the Respite Care Grant. Our most vulnerable people continue to be targeted by the Government. Will the Government wait until there is another all night protest outside the Dáil before they take notice?