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Free Travel

Wayne O'Reilly, Minister Heather Humphreys and Lisa Whelan holding placards in Bus Aras encouraging people to apply for Free Tracel

We believe that people with epilepsy who lose their driving license due to a diagnosis of epilepsy or breakthrough seizures should be automatically given access to a free travel pass. We also believe that the free travel scheme must become a standalone scheme so that people can apply directly for the benefit.

Why?

If a person holds a driving license and is diagnosed with epilepsy or has a breakthrough seizure, they will automatically lose their license until they are one year seizure free. We are aware of cases where a person with epilepsy has had to give up work or education due to the costs associated with public transport. As a result, they then depend on state welfare payments which can have an impact on their independence and can lead to a person becoming socially isolated. Automatic access to free travel for this group who have lost their license would help prevent this from happening in the future. 

For the cases of people who have uncontrolled seizures and for those who make a conscious decision not to drive, they too will be faced with financial implications. Some people, particularly those living with ongoing, uncontrolled seizures, will be able to access a free travel pass via qualifying payments such as disability allowance or invalidity pension. However, many will not qualify as they do not meet the strict medical criteria for these schemes. What people with epilepsy need is for the Free Travel scheme to become a standalone scheme so they can apply directly for the free travel pass in order to help them with costs of travel which results from their condition.

Update - May 2024

In advance of the changes announced in Budget 2024 coming into effect on July 29th, the Department of Social Protection is now inviting applications for the expanded Free Travel scheme. The form to apply for the scheme is available to read or download at the end of this article.  You can also read more about this by visiting the 'News' section of our website. 

Update - October 2023

In the Budget for 2024, a commitment has been made to "to provide free travel for people medically certified unfit to drive" with  the Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys TD commenting:

 

I am particularly pleased to expand my Department's Free Travel Pass to support people who are medically certified as unable to drive. I want to acknowledge the work of Epilepsy Ireland who I have engaged with over the last two years on this matter. This is a small change but it will make a big difference.

It is expected this change will be implemented by July 2024 and we will provide further updates on the details around this in this section below.

Latest News 

The below are some of the latest updates on this matter and associated articles in the news section of our website where you can read more.