Ombudsman slams lack of progress on replacement schemes for disabled drivers 

The Ombudsman’s sharp criticism of the lack of supports for drivers with disabilities should be a source of deep embarrassment for the Government, according to Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns.

Deputy Cairns, who is the party’s spokesperson on disability, said:

“Commenting on the publication of his office’s annual report, Ombudsman Ger Deering was unequivocal in his condemnation of the Government’s lack of progress on this issue. He described the lack of supports for disabled drivers as shameful and rightly pointed out that no one seems to be willing to take any action.

“It is now 10 years since the Government discontinued the Mobility Allowance and the Motorised Transport Grant after the schemes were found to be in breach of the Equal Status Act. These schemes were closed to new applicants in 2013 and, despite repeated promises, have not been replaced with alternative supports by the Government.

“The Ombudsman also highlighted difficulties with the Disabled Drivers and Passengers Scheme, saying it has inequitable and inadequate eligibility criteria in primary legislation and has had no appeals mechanism in place since November 2021.

“The provision of transport supports is required by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) – yet the Government continues to ignore its obligations.

“For disabled people, transport is about independence, access to education, securing employment or being able to meet with family and friends. However, because of this Government’s inaction, they continue to be excluded from everyday life in Ireland.”

June 14, 2023

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