Epilepsy Ireland have today written to the Minister for Social Protection, Deputy Heather Humphreys; Minister for Finance, Deputy Paschal Donohoe; and Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform, Deputy Michael McGrath outlining proposals regarding access to Free Travel for people with epilepsy.
We are seeking that the Ministers make provision in the upcoming budget to provide funding to the Department to make the Free Travel scheme more accessible for people with epilepsy.
As a result of their condition, many people with epilepsy depend on public transport either due to the fact that they have temporarily lost their license owing to a breakthrough seizure or because the nature of their condition will mean that they will never be able to drive.
For many this comes with significant financial implications and can impact on a person’s social activities and independence.
Our proposals have two key aspects:
1) Extending Access to Free Travel
Provide automatic access to a Free Travel pass for those who temporarily lose their license for the period that they are “off the road”.
2) Decoupling of Free Travel from qualifying payments
Establish the Free Travel scheme as a directly appliable benefit so that those who are unable to drive can have their eligibility assessed.
We estimate that our proposals would come at a cost of €571,725 to the exchequer – a minor cost which could have a huge impact in the lives of many people with epilepsy and their families.
You can read our budget proposals in full by downloading the document at the end of this article.
In addition, if you would like to support our calls with your local TDs or Senators, there is a template of an email you can use available for download at the end of this article. As always, we recommend that if you have personal experience of this matter that you take the time to outline this to your local TD or Senator to ensure they have a clear picture this issue can have. You can find details of your local TDs and Senators by visiting the Oireachtas website and we would appreciate if you could let us know if you receive a response by emailing our Advocacy & Communications Manager Paddy McGeoghegan on firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope that our proposals will be looked upon favorably by Government and we will continue to push to have this long-standing issue addressed for people with epilepsy and their families.