The Joint Committee on Disability Matters is dismayed with the lack of action and delay by Government in introducing a fair and adequate personal transport scheme for people with disabilities that supports their needs and allows them to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life as required by the UNCRPD.
Particularly, the Committee are concerned by the lack of action by the Government in delivering an alternative scheme, to the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant, as requested by the Ombudsman in 2013.
The Committee believe there is a need for urgent action from Ministers Donohoe, O’Gorman, Rabbitte and Donnelly, and have written to the Ministers to request that a commitment is shown for the rights of people with disabilities and introduce a new transport scheme for people with disabilities and their carers that supports individuals better in relation to their needs.
In this regard, the Committee support the recommendations made by Family Carers Ireland and Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland at the Committees public meeting and on foot of this have made the recommendations below to the applicable Ministers. These recommendations must be considered as part of the ongoing review;
1) Do not remove the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers scheme without an appropriate and alternative scheme in place and re-energise the effort and communicate commitment to providing a new scheme to people with disabilities Government support, and alleviate their concerns regarding removal of the current scheme
2) Urgently introduce a new transport scheme for people with disabilities and their carers that ensures flexible arrangements, is an integrated system whereby the support people receive is better related to their needs, in compliance with the Equal Status Acts and examine;
- a) the Motability scheme in the UK and how Ireland could introduce a similar scheme including how a payment can be converted to lease a vehicle under the scheme and how this payment could be converted into a capital amount if needed, alike the motorised transport scheme
- b) how to incentivise disabled persons need to adopt electric vehicles under a new scheme
3) With regard to the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers scheme, the Committee recommend that the Department of Finance and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth;
- a) examine how to increase the eligibility for the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers scheme to be extended to include those with non-physical disabilities
- b) consider developing the assessment for the Primary Medical Cert in line with the social model of disability and based on a broader spectrum of considerations rather than strict narrow criteria. The assessment must be followed by a recommendation with access to a particular level of service where the individual’s needs are being considered
- c) ensure representatives on the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers scheme Board have lived experience of disability and have the skills to support the above
4) Immediately include Family Carers Ireland on the Transport Working Group for the new transport scheme
5) Re introduce the payment of a cash allowance, like the mobility allowance so that people with disabilities and their families have flexibility and a reliable door-to-door transport for urgent appointments.
6) Existing schemes, such as Accessible Community Transport Southside and Vantastic, should be fully evaluated. If they are found to meet the needs of people with a disability and their families, they should be adequately funded. Consider how these schemes could provide accessible transport to day services, for example, and schools as well.