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Friday 24 March 2023 Dublin: 7°C
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# hardship
Taoiseach says nobody should be asked if their child 'still had Down syndrome?'
Medical cards were discussed in the Dáil this afternoon.

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY said nobody should be sent a letter asking if their child “still had Down syndrome?” in the Dáil today.

The Taoiseach was questioned about medical cards by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.

Deputy Martin said that 31,000 medical cards have been taken from people with life threatening conditions.

He asked Kenny, “Will you intervene in this scandal and look after the most vulnerable in our society?”

The Taoiseach replied that “the issue of medical cards is very serious” but continued that “the legislation governing medical cards is based on financial hardship and is not condition based”.

He said:

If we allowed a medical card for persons with particular needs, everybody who is asthmatic or diabetic would have a card.

“We need to put local integrated packages around people who need it”.


Micheál Martin said that “A 12-year-old child who is wheelchair bound and blind with intellectual and physical disability should have a medical card”

What is going on when a child like that doesn’t have a medical card.

He continued that “it’s a policy and enormous stress is being caused because of it”.

He also said the letter from Jack and Jill was sent to the Taoiseach adding that the red carpet should be rolled out for families who take care of their children … not red tape.

Enda Kenny replied that “If you want to change the legislation to be based on condition rather than hardship, that’s a different matter altogether”.

I know of a case of a family where a member has Motor Neurone disease but they are far in excess of the medical card requirement level and it’s a  fundamental issue that I can’t change.

The Taoiseach concluded by saying that “We will continue to show compassion and understanding where it’s possible”.

Read: Mother was asked by the HSE if her son ‘still had Down syndrome’>

Read: ‘Why was the medical card taken from our son who has a rare disease?’>

Read: Dad of boy with rare disease pens moving ‘I have a dream’ speech>

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