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Key Epilepsy Ireland Advocacy campaign featured in NAI pre-budget submission

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NAI logo and bus lane

Our ongoing campaign around access for Free Travel for people with epilepsy has been featured in the Neurological Alliance of Ireland’s 2022 pre-budget submission.

We believe our ask is extremely logical and simple given the unique challenges with travel that people with epilepsy can face due to the nature of their condition.

Our ask around Free Travel is included as follows:

As part of Budget 2022 Epilepsy Ireland are calling on the Government to address a longstanding issue impacting on people with epilepsy. If a person with epilepsy holds a driving license and experiences a breakthrough seizure, they will lose that license until they become one year seizure free.

In addition to this, due to the nature of their condition, many people with epilepsy will never be able to drive so depend heavily on public transport. This can place a significant financial burden on people with epilepsy and can create challenges in maintaining employment. Our members Epilepsy Ireland are aware of cases whereby a person has had to give up their employment due to these challenges and in general, have seen how this can lead to a person becoming economically and socially isolated.

Therefore, they are calling on the Government to address this issue in Budget 2022 by:

• Granting automatic access to a Free Travel Pass for people with epilepsy who temporarily lose their license due to a breakthrough seizure to ease the burden they face for the period that they are unable to drive.

• Establish the Free Travel scheme as directly applicable benefit to allow people with epilepsy who are unable to drive to apply directly for a Free Travel Pass. Currently, the Free Travel scheme is linked to other payments such as Disability Allowance and Invalidity pension. This makes the benefit inaccessible to those who are in employment and do not meet the strict medical criteria for these schemes.

As revealed during National Epilepsy Week, this measure is supported by 88% of the Irish public – according to research conducted on behalf of Epilepsy Ireland by Amarach Research.

We would like to thank the NAI for featuring our ongoing campaign on this matter as part of their pre-budget submission and we hope that Government will act on this longstanding matter for people with epilepsy and their families. 

As members of the NAI, we are also supporting the asks outlined by the NAI in their pre-budget submission as a whole, which includes:

  • Ensuring section 39 organisations (like Epilepsy Ireland) do not experience funding cuts in 2022
  • Providing funding to tackle high neurology waiting list ; staffing vacancies and the development of specialist services
  • Providing funding to establish neurorehabilitation teams across the country as part of the National Neurorehabilitation Strategy