Catherine Murphy, TD - To ask the Minister for Finance the current requirements to qualify for a primary medical certificate; if he plans changes to the current criteria; if so, the details of those changes; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Paschal Donohoe, TD
The medical criteria were included in Section 89 of the Finance Act 1989 by way of an amendment in the Finance Act 2020. This amendment arises from legal advice in light of the June 2020 Supreme Court judgement that the medical criteria in secondary legislation was not deemed to be invalid, nevertheless it was found to be inconsistent with the mandate provided in Section 92 of the Finance Act 1989 (primary legislation).
While I am very aware of the importance of this scheme to those who benefit from it, I am also aware of the disquiet expressed by members of this house and others in respect of the difficulties around access to the scheme. With this in mind I have asked my officials to undertake a comprehensive review of the scheme, to include a broader review of mobility supports for persons with disabilities, and on foot of that review to bring forward proposals for consideration.
Department officials have been carrying out preliminary work, including an examination of the main issues which will frame the scope of the review. Officials have also been engaging with other Departments in the context of other ongoing work in mobility supports. In particular, the Department has engaged with the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth in the context of a working group established early last year by the Minister for Justice before the work was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The group, under the National Disability Inclusion Strategy 2017-2021, was tasked with a review of transport supports encompassing all Government funded transport and mobility schemes for people with disabilities, to enhance the options for transport to work or employment supports for people with disabilities and to develop proposals for development of a coordinated plan for such provision.
It is envisaged that the review group will be established shortly and will include stakeholders from other Departments, the Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal and other representative groups