The Board made this decision due to their frustrations that a large number of drivers applying for tax reliefs were being turned down, resulting in them resorting to the Appeals process.
The Disabled Drivers and Passengers Scheme provides relief on VRT and VAT on vehicles for
disabled drivers or passengers. ‘There are a significant number of people in Tipperary who have
been refused access to VRT and VAT relief. This deprives them of their independence and their
basic rights to having their own means of transport. I have been contacted my many people in
Tipperary who have been denied the financial support they need to have independent
transport, despite their entitlement to VRT and VAT relief’ says Deputy Lowry.
The Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal oversees the appeals process for those who don’t
qualify for the scheme. However they have serious issues with the scheme, mainly with
regards to the qualifications system being too stringent. On average, less than 5% of appeals for
Primary Medical Certs, which are necessary to apply for the scheme, are successful.
Dr Cara McDonagh, the Board’s Chairperson, wrote to the Minister last October to tender her
resignation. The five other members of the Board also resigned at this time but their
resignations have only now become public knowledge.
‘The reality for many disabled drivers or drivers who provide transport for compromised family
members is that they are now confined to their homes’ says Deputy Lowry. ‘This is not
acceptable and must be addressed without any delay. Many disabled people do not have access
to public transport, particularly those living in rural Ireland. The support they received through
the Motorised Transport Grant and Mobility Allowance were both suspended nine years ago”
‘Now we have a situation whereby the three Support Schemes have effectively been
suspended. This cannot be allowed to continue and I will be taking up this matter with the
Minister for Finance when the Dail resumes next week’ concluded Deputy Lowry.