December 3rd: Unite today called on the Government to fast-track the promised new Transport Support Scheme for people with disabilities. The new scheme has been promised to replace the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant, which were abolished because they were found to be in breach on the Equal Status Act. Speaking today on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Unite Regional Equalities Officer Taryn Trainor pointed out that mobility and transport supports are essential to ensure that people with disabilities are not effectively trapped in their homes.
“Over two years ago, when the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant were found to be in breach of the Equal Status Act due to age-related criteria, the Government had the option of simply scrapping the age criteria and retaining the schemes. Instead, they chose to scrap these essential schemes – and two years later, people with disabilities are still waiting for the promised new Transport Support Scheme.
“Unite’s Regional Disability Committee understands that draft Heads of Bill have been prepared. The draft legislation needs to be published without delay and submitted to a consultation process to ensure that it meets the diverse needs of people with disabilities who needs transport supports in order to access education and employment, and to participate fully in their communities.
“The additional cost involved in accessing appropriate transport is just one element of the ‘cost of disability’ – the extra necessary expenditure associated with having a disability. As it stands, Irish supports for those with disabilities – both cash and in-kind supports – are substantially below the average of other EU-15 countries.
“A fit-for-purpose Transport Support Scheme, informed by widespread consultation with disability groups and advocates, is crucial if we are to work towards ensuring that people with a disability can participate to the fullest possible extent in society and in the economy”, Taryn Trainor concluded.