Ó Caoláin criticises 'blatant disregard for Equal Status Act'
Speaking in advance of Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly's appearance before the Joint Oireachtas Public Service Oversight and Petitions Committee Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, has again criticised the Department of Health's decision, in late November, to reject the recommendation of the Ombudsman following an investigation into the refusal of an application by a young Donegal man for aid under the Motorised Transport Grant scheme. Deputy Ó Caoláin claimed the decision represents further evidence of a blatant disregard for the Equal Status Act.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
"This episode is a damning indictment of not only the Department’s, but the Government’s, attitude towards those who rely on their support. It is clearly further evidence of a blatant disregard for the Equal Status Act.
"This was the second time in four weeks that the Ombudsman had a recommendation rejected by the Department of Health. On 24th October the Department rejected a recommendation that the Mobility Allowance scheme be amended to remove the upper age limit. This rejection was supported by the government.
"This case arose from an application by a severely disabled young Donegal man for aid under the Motorised Transport Grant scheme. Following an investigation into the HSEs refusal of his application the Ombudsman found that the HSE's operation of the Motorised Transport Grant reflected an approach to disability which is unduly restrictive, improperly discriminatory and fails to have proper regard to the Equal Status Acts." ENDS