Home ireland Appeals process for disabled drives ‘in disarray’ with 900 people waiting

Appeals process for disabled drives ‘in disarray’ with 900 people waiting

Appeals process for disabled drives ‘in disarray’ with 900 people waiting

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has said “there can be no standing over” the situation where over 900 disabled drivers have been waiting for an appeals process to allow them certification to drive their own vehicle.

The entire process is in disarray according to Independent TD Denis Naughten who raised the issue with the Department of Finance which oversees the scheme.

“The National Rehabilitation Hospital hosted the Appeal Board, and it’s also acted as the administrative body for processing appeals. They have now decided to withdraw from supporting the appeals board,” he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

“The appeals board itself doesn’t have the minimum number of members now to operate. So the whole system is now in disarray. And we have 900 people who are waiting for a decision in relation to their appeal. And these people are effectively marooned in their own homes. They cannot get access to any of the supports.

“And we have the situation that all the schemes that historically were in place, the motorised transport grant and the mobility allowance, they were suspended over a decade ago. So if a person with a disability doesn’t have access to public transport, they are now effectively marooned and isolated in their own home and in their own community, unable to avail of access to work or any social outlet.”


Gráinne Leach, who had her right arm amputated 40 years ago after she was knocked off her bicycle by a bus, told Morning Ireland that the appeals process was “a disgrace”. The system was “archaic”, the criteria were “so strict” and had been drawn up by officials from the Department of Finance with no medical input.

“I have been appealing this primary medical certificate for over 30 years. The situation is archaic, The criteria is archaic. It contradicts everything in the criteria on one line, it says permanent disability. And then in the next line, they say you have to be without both arms. Well, my arm isn’t coming back. I have a permanent disability.”

Ms Leach added that she had only recently received her disabled parking permit, after 30 years of appeals.

“The amount of money that’s been wasted on this appeals board is absolutely crazy. And it’s also cost me a lot of money over the years, my disability.

“I would ask the Minister for Health to please address the archaic criteria of the primary medical certificate. Please do this. It should be needs based, patient centred.”

Kenneth Fox, chief executive of the Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland pointed out that the scheme for disabled drivers was the only support available and the fact that it was not operating correctly was a source of real worry for people.

“A lot of people are afraid that the scheme won’t continue because of the issues that have been ongoing now since 2020, really in the Supreme Court case.

“At the moment there’s about 900 people who have been refused at the first level, at the senior area, medical officer level, at their local agency. And all of those 900 people are only able to appeal the decision they’ve met.

“So their only option at the moment is to wait six months and apply to the exact same person that refused them in the first place.

“There’s no there’s no appeal mechanism, that’s been the case since November 2021. And the Board of Appeal was a panel of generally consultants. And so they did actually take a broad review in terms of looking at it as best they could. But the fundamental difficulty is reform of the criteria themselves.

“It’s probably time that it moved away from a condition based assessment of people’s need for personal transport, their need for an adaptation, to a more needs based assessment of people in terms of what are their circumstances, in terms of needing transport and needing an adaptation and vehicle that you need.”