Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has expressed concern that the HSE will not restore more than one in eight of the discretionary cards lost over the past three years.

Deputy Kelleher said: “Reports today indicate that between 2,000 and 4,000 people could benefit from a so-called ‘third tier’ card issued on discretionary grounds.  The fact is that this is just a fraction of those who have lost out under this government deliberate targeting of people with medical cards.

“Even if you split the difference just one in ten cards would be restored.  That’s just not good enough.

“The discretionary medical card is essential for those with serious illnesses, the treatment of which can cause major financial hardship.  Minister Reilly must ensure that no-one in clinical need is denied such cards where it can cause significant financial distress.

“It is nothing short of a disgrace that it has taken panic on the Fine Gael backbenches to get even a modest response to this crisis from Minister Reilly.  Fianna Fáil has been highlighting the deliberate and sustained attack on discretionary medical cards under Minister’s Reilly three years in office.

“We tabled a Dáil motion on this last October and we have raised it at Leaders’ Questions on numerous occasions and we were consistently told that there was no problem and that we were scaremongering.

“Either the government was being deliberately deceitful or they are hopelessly out of touch with the realities being faced by thousands of people across the country.”