Significant changes to the free travel scheme will benefit those with epilepsy and other disabilities that have resulted in a person being deemed medically unfit to drive, according to a Fine Gael TD.
Deputy Colm Burke, Fine Gael’s spokesperson on health, welcomed the extension of measures to increase access to the Free Travel scheme from July 2024.
“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. This can put pressure on those diagnosed to arrange alternative travel.
“There are huge implications for someone who has been driving for years and suddenly finds themselves off the road for 12 months because of a seizure. Due to the current cost of living, many of those who have been deemed unfit to drive may be struggling to afford alternative transport.
“For years people with epilepsy have been impacted by their inability to access the Free Transport scheme. This new measure will be a welcome relief for people across Ireland living with epilepsy.
“This measure will be widely welcomed by the entire epilepsy community. This is a small change that will make a big difference for those who need it.
“Being unable to drive can have a major impact on retaining employment and remaining socially active for those with epilepsy and the expansion of this scheme will ease this burden.
“This is a clear recognition by the government and Minister Humphreys of the accessibility issues which can exist for those living with the condition and the need to address these challenges.
“Budget 2024 clearly shows that Fine Gael is committed to supporting and advocating for those affected by epilepsy,” concluded Deputy Burke.