TD for Dublin Mid-West, Eoin Ó Broin has condemned the Minister for Finance’s failure to adequately fund the Disabled Drivers Scheme (DDS). The DDS provides relief for drivers living with disabilities from VRT and VAT on the purchase and use of an adapted car. The scheme also includes a fuel allowance and an exemption from motor tax.
Speaking recently, Deputy Ó Broin said: “In 2021, €68 million euro was spent by the Department of Finance on the scheme, which requires applicants to meet a rigid criterion. “Figures obtained by Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson, Pearse Doherty show that 1,242 applications for a primary medical certificate were refused last year. This certificate allows disabled drivers to access the scheme “Additionally, the Scheme’s entire Board of Appeal resigned at the end of last year in response to the Department’s failure to address their concerns regarding the criteria for access to the Scheme.
“This scheme needs to be fixed and resourced properly. The rigid application process, the narrow eligibility criteria; and the Minister for Finance’s reluctance to engage with the experts in this is causing real distress for people living in Dublin Mid-West who rely on private transport to get to their places of work and live their lives.”
“Under the UN charter on disability rights, which has been in force in Ireland since 2018 – there is an onus on government to address this. A comprehensive review as promised by Minister Donohoe is long overdue and needs to be met with real action. “The fact that strong statements from the appeals board and the Ombudsman have gone by without any meaningful change to the scheme is very concerning.” “To qualify for tax relief under the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers scheme, the person with a disability must have a valid Primary Medical Certificate.
“A Primary Medical Certificate confirms you are severely and permanently disabled, and:
- Are completely or almost completely without the use of both legs or
- Are completely without the use of one of your legs and almost completely without the use of the other leg to the extent that you are severely restricted as regards movement in your legs or
- Are without both hands or both arms or
- Are without one or both legs or
- Are completely or almost completely without the use of both hands or arms and completely or almost completely without the use of one leg or
- Have the medical condition of “dwarfism” and serious difficulties of movement of the legs