Dáil Éireann - Volume 632 - 27 February, 2007
Written Answers. - Disabled Drivers.
Mr. Wall Mr. Wall
Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding an application for the special VAT dispensation on the purchase of a car by a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7132/07]
Mr. Cowen Mr. Cowen
Mr. Cowen: I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners, that based on the information supplied, they have been unable to trace any claim by the named person under the Disabled Drivers and the Disabled Passengers (Tax Concession) Regulations, 1994.
 The disability criteria for eligibility for the tax concessions under this scheme are set out in the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Regulations 1994. To get the Primary Medical Certificate, an applicant must be severely and permanently disabled and satisfy one of the following conditions:
(a) be wholly or almost wholly without the use of both legs;
(b) be wholly without the use of one leg and almost wholly without the use of the other leg such that the applicant is severely restricted as to movement of the lower limbs;
(c) be without both hands or without both arms;
(d) be without one or both legs;
(e) be wholly or almost wholly without the use of both hands or arms and wholly or almost wholly without the use of one leg;
(f) have the medical condition of dwarfism and have serious difficulties of movement of the lower limbs.
The Senior Medical Officer (SMO) for the relevant local Health Service Executive administrative area makes a professional clinical determination as to whether an individual applicant satisfies the medical criteria. An unsuccessful applicant can appeal the decision of the SMO to the Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal, which makes a new clinical determination in respect of the individual.
A special Interdepartmental Review Group reviewed the operation of the Disabled Drivers Scheme. The terms of reference of the Group were to examine the operation of the existing scheme, including the difficulties experienced by the various groups and individuals involved with it, and to consider the feasibility of alternative schemes, with a view to assisting the Minister for Finance in determining the future direction of the scheme.
The Group’s Report, published on my Department’s website in July 2004, sets out in detail the genesis and development of the scheme. It examines the current benefits, the qualifying medical criteria, the Exchequer costs, relationship with other schemes and similar schemes in other countries. The Report also makes a number of recommendations, both immediate and long-term, referring respectively to the operation of the appeals process and options for the future development of the scheme.
In respect of the long-term recommendations, including the qualifying disability criteria, given the scale and scope of the scheme, further changes can only be made after careful consideration. For this reason, the Government decided that the Minister for Finance would consider the recommendations contained in the Report of the Interdepartmental Review Group in the context  of the annual budgetary process having regard to the existing and prospective cost of the scheme. This consideration is undertaken on a regular basis.
Dáil Éireann 632 Written Answers. Disabled Drivers.