The Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme, brought in in 1994, was designed to respond to the needs, in particular, of motorists who, because of their physical condition, needed to buy and maintain specially adapted vehicles for their use.
The idea was a good one as it allowed for a range of tax exemptions and other incentives to make up for the extra cost involved.
At the time, the measure was welcomed by disability campaigners but, over the years, access to the scheme by those who need it has become a long and tortuous process.
Indeed, the Ombudsman Peter Tyndall, who has received scores of complaints about the scheme, has been trying for a number of years to persuade the Government to amend it.
In a letter to Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins, he described the scheme as “overly rigid and inflexible and may well be causing inequity.”
It has become that this scheme is no longer fit for purpose and fairness dictates that it requires amendment, urgently.