Government must reverse scandalous transport charges for children with disabilities – Matt Carthy MEP
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has called on Minister of State for Disability Issues, Finian McGrath, to immediately intervene to ensure the reversal of new transport charges on children and adults with disabilities using the Rural Transport Scheme to HSE services.
Carthy said families of those affected have been left shocked and upset at the recent introduction of charges on return journeys to HSE Centres.
The Midlands North West MEP says those in receipt of disability allowance, and who are solely reliant on the service will be particularly hard hit, calling it a further attack on the most vulnerable in society.
Matt Carthy said:
“The imposition of new charges on people with disabilities using the Rural Transport Scheme on return journeys to HSE Centres was recently brought to my attention by a number of affected families in Cavan and Monaghan.
“Communication from the Disability Services Manager in Cavan Monaghan on the 21st March, informed people of a daily charge of €4.00 for return journeys to HSE Centres, to be implemented from 1st April.
“There was no consultation whatsoever with service users and they and their families are understandably upset and shocked at this move.
“Of the many HSE Centres affected in my own constituency, CRANOG Resource Centre in Castleblayney is one. The majority of users here receive fixed weekly allowances, such as Disability Allowance, where €4.00 a day represents a significant amount of money out of their weekly budget, especially for those attending a centre on multiple days.
“I have written to Minister of State for Disabilities Finian McGrath, urging him to consider the impact this charge will have on people who rely on the Rural Transport Scheme to access vital services and to intervene to overturn this decision and to allow such service users to use travel passes for such journeys.
“There is a genuine fear now in families that their loved ones may not be able to avail of services simply because of the cost. I am aware that in the case of one family, the cost annually would be €2,000.
“This is a further attack on some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Any TD that continues to support this government, which oversees reckless wastages in our public finances while penalising the most vulnerable in our society, is culpable. They must join me in demanding that these charges be reversed immediately.”