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Epilepsy Ireland highlight personal impact of inadequate access to Free Travel with Ministers in advance of #Budget22.

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With the budget taking place this coming Tuesday, Epilepsy Ireland have once again written to Ministers Heather Humphreys, Paschal Donohoe and Michael McGrath regarding our Budget proposals to improve access to Free Travel passes for people with epilepsy.

We believe our proposals are both fair & reasonable – and that Budget 22 represents the perfect opportunity to address this longstanding issue for people with epilepsy and their families.

In this latest correspondence to each Minister, we have highlighted the personal impact this is having on people with epilepsy across Ireland. Using our #QuestionTime initiative on Instagram, we recently asked our followers how our proposals would help them and to outline how this issue is currently affect them.

The responses received paint a clear picture of this matter and we hope that this direct testimony will help ensure that Government act to address this matter as part of Budget 22.

You can see our latest correspondece to the Ministers below while our proposals on this matter and the quotes we have sent to the Ministers are all available to download at the end of this article.

RE: Budget 22 Proposals on Free Travel for People with Epilepsy
Dear Ministers,
We trust this finds you well. With just a few days remaining until Budget 22, we wanted to write to you once again regarding our proposals to improve access to Free Travel for people with epilepsy in Ireland. I have attached our proposals for ease of access.

Since we were last in touch, our colleagues in the Neurological Alliance of Ireland and the Disability Federation of Ireland have included our proposals within their own pre-budget submissions – showing there is widespread support for this amongst umbrella organisations for these measures. In addition, 88% of the Irish public expressed support for improved access to Free Travel for people with epilepsy earlier this year in an Amarach survey.

We also wanted to provide you with some direct testimony from people with epilepsy who have impacted by this longstanding issue. Using our Instagram page, we recently asked our followers a number of questions about the challenges they have faced due to the accessibility issues caused by their epilepsy. I have attached a selection for your information.

Given the demographic of Instagram, these responses are generally from younger people with epilepsy. They give a real sense of the impact this issue is having on a small cohort of people - who are already trying to manage their long- term health condition. This issue is further impacting on them and causing unnecessary stress, anxiety and poorer quality of life. It is also affecting family members in many cases.
As the budget is finalised in the coming days, I would appeal to you to please address this issue in Budget 22. The simple measures put forward in our proposals will have a monumental impact in the lives of people with epilepsy across Ireland.

We are more than willing to meet with you all either individually or collectively should you wish to discuss this matter further.

We hope to see positive news on this matter in the budget next week. Thank you for your attention to this matter and we look forward to hearing from you on same.

Yours sincerely,
Peter Murphy,
CEO, Epilepsy Ireland