Galwegians with severe disabilities are being “virtual prisoners in their own homes” with the Government’s failure to bring in legislation to hire transport or get a specially adapted car.
This is the view of Independent Galway West TD Noel Grealish, who has accused the Government of “putting on the long finger” the introduction of the Health (Transport Support ) Bill.
The new bill is scheduled to replace the Mobility Allowance Scheme which was scrapped in 2013 after the Ombudsman found it contravened the Equal Status Act by excluding applicants aged 66 and over.
Monthly payments of up to €208 were being made to about 4,700 people under the Mobility Allowance Scheme. Recipients have since been left “high and dry” according to the Carnmore based TD following the Government “bringing a sledgehammer down on the whole lot” by closing the scheme, instead of “extending it to older people”.
The Government gave commitments it would bring in the Health (Transport Support ) Bill. Last September, the Government published its Legislation Programme in which it indicated that publication of this Bill was expected in 2015. However, the latest Legislation Programme, published in January, says it is “not possible to indicate at this stage”, when publication could be expected.
Dep Grealish has called this situation “unacceptable” as it is leaving “some people virtual prisoners on their own homes” as they can neither use public transport nor buy or adapt a car for their needs. He is now calling on the HSE and the Department of Health to” fix this problem that should have been fixed more than two years ago”.