Changes in the way Mobility
assistance payments are made to people with a disability are mean-spirited and despicable according to Workers’ Party
Councillor Ted Tynan.
Cllr. Tynan said that
the latest cost cutting measure from the government will leave some disabled people virtually prisoners in their own
home as they no longer have control on when and how they access taxi services.
Under the new scheme which
was piloted by the HSE in Cork and is due to be introduced nationwide on October 1st the disabled person’s
€50 a week mobility allowance is being replaced with a €30 a week taxi voucher.
However the user is obliged to use a nominated taxi company (ABC Cabs in Cork city) and their limited number of wheelchair
adapted cabs is often unavailable when they are providing school and other contracts.
Cllr. Tynan said he had
already been contacted by one disabled person who had to pay €21.60 out of their €30 weekly voucher allowance
for a single return visit to a hospital clinic. “This means”, said
Cllr. Tynan, “that this individual will effectively be a prisoner in her home and may be forced to miss other important
appointments. The new mobility scheme is a miserly and grubby cut which will
undoubtedly have a detrimental effect on the life quality of those affected by it.
The Workers’ Party
Councillor called for the cancellation of the pilot plan and for the return of the old Mobility Grant and its extension to
those over 65s who were previously excluded from it.
“If Minister Kathleen
Lynch and her colleagues have hearts then they will scrap this despicable programme and ensure that disabled people can have
their mobility and independence restored”, said Cllr. Tynan.