Deputy James Lawless
Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare North, James Lawless, has criticised the Minister for Transport for refusing to review the criteria for disabled parking in order to include so called hidden disabilities such as dementia, which may not necessarily significantly impair mobility, but make transport more difficult for those with the condition.
Deputy Lawless recently asked a Parliamentary Question on the matter, querying if the Minister had any plans to expand the Disabled Parking Permit.
The Minister said that permits are only available to those who are blind or whose mobility is severely restricted and that there are no plans to make the changes called for by Deputy Lawless.
Deputy Lawless said that as a society we don’t do enough to support those of us with hidden disabilities. “Extending the disabled parking permit scheme would allow people for whom transport is difficult to live more independently and travel with more ease.”
He urged the Minister to review the scheme. “While he cited concerns about the availability of disabled parking spaces and the additional pressure expansion of the scheme would cause, these concerns can be dealt with through greater provision of spaces and consultation with stakeholders. This would be a relatively small change but would make a big difference to the people who currently have great difficulty in completing the smallest journeys,” he said.