Published on 9 January 2020

Ombudsman Peter Tyndall has written to the Cabinet to highlight some of the issues raised in complaints to his Office that affect people with disabilities. The Cabinet meets today in Marino, Dublin for a special meeting to discuss disability issues.

The Ombudsman has warmly welcomed the Cabinet’s decision to focus on persons with disabilities. His letter describes the six-and-a-half-year delay in implementing a replacement scheme for the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant schemes that were closed to new applicants in 2013 by the Department of Health. The closure followed an investigation by the then Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, which found that the schemes were in breach of the Equal Status Act 2000.

The Ombudsman also refers to concerns he has over the eligibility criteria for the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers scheme. The scheme provides a range of tax reliefs linked to the purchase and use of specially constructed or adapted vehicles by drivers and passengers with a disability. The Ombudsman says that the criteria are extremely narrowly focussed and prescriptive. He added that the criteria do not allow for any discretion, and many severely and permanently disabled applicants have no prospect of qualifying for the scheme as it is currently framed.