THE GOVERNMENT IS considering legal advice after the Ombudsman declared that an upper age limit placed on the mobility allowance is “illegal”.
During today’s Leader’s Questions, Sinn Féin Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore what the Government is going to do about the mobility allowance scheme following the report.
Gilmore said that this matter:
requires further consideration by the government in order to meet the requirements of Equal Status Act and to ensure there is no hardship for those currently in receipt of the mobility allowance. We are seeking further legal advice as to the options available to the government.
He said that the government does not wish to withdraw the allowance from those currently receiving it, and it will be seeking legal advice so it can proceed in a way “that is reasonable, sustainable and does not cause undue distress to those in receipt of the allowance”.
There are 4,500 recipients of the allowance from the HSE, at a cost of €12 million. The basic criteria for the allowance remains that the person must be not be able to walk or be in such a condition that the exertion required to walk would be dangerous to their health.
The Tánaiste said the government “respects the Ombudsman and the office of the Ombudsman”.