NEWLY-elected Minister of State for Mental Health and older People Jim Daly faced his first Question Time in the Dáil last week and ironically the first question was from his constituency colleague, Fianna Fáil’s Margaret Murphy O’Mahony, who asked when replacements for the mobility allowance and motorised transport grant scheme will be brought forward.
‘First, I take this opportunity to congratulate the Minister (Simon Harris) on his reinstatement and my constituency colleague, the Minister of State, Deputy Jim Daly, on his elevation. I will be expecting great things for Cork South West now,’ she said. ‘I suppose, for me, it is a case of the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t. I wish them luck.’
Minister of State Daly thanked thank the deputy for her question and good wishes. ‘It is timely that the first question I get to answer in the House is for my constituency colleague,’ he said. ‘Conscious of the reports of the Ombudsman in 2011 and 2012 on the legal status of the mobility allowance and motorised transport grants scheme in the context of the Equal Status Acts, the Government decided to close both schemes in February 2013. The Government is aware of the continuing needs of people with a disability who rely on individual payments that support choice and independence.
‘In this regard, monthly payments of up to €208.50 have continued to be made by the Health Service Executive to 4,700 people who were in receipt of the mobility allowance.’
He also confirmed that work on the policy proposals for the new scheme is at an advanced stage.