For Written Answer on : 21/02/2023
Question Number(s): 501 Question Reference(s): 8176/23
Department: Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Children; Equality; Disability; Integration and Youth further to Parliamentary Question No. 84 of 9 February 2023, the transport supports that are in place to enable young adults with intellectual disabilities to attend further education, employment or training facilities which are located at a distance from their homes; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
While I recognise the critical importance of adequate transport and mobility supports, my Department has no responsibility for the administration of any specific transport or mobility scheme.
Government is committed to addressing the barriers and challenges faced by people with disabilities across Ireland, and the issue of transport and mobility supports has been given important recent consideration in that regard. Action 104 of the National Disability Inclusion Strategy, which concluded at the end of 2022, contained an important cross-Government action to review transport and mobility supports for people with disabilities and to advance proposals for the enhancement of these supports going forward. The Action 104 Transport Working Group was established in 2020 to make progress in this regard.
While the original emphasis in Action 104 was on transport for the purposes of employment – as the action itself was derived from a Make Work Pay Report recommendation – the Working Group extended the scope of its work in January 2022 to include all transport and mobility supports, recognising the important role that transport and mobility plays in supporting people with disabilities to live independent lives.
The discussions at the Transport Working Group were particularly enriched by the contributions of Disability Stakeholder Group representatives, and other disability organisations, who ensured that the lived experience of people with disabilities remained at the centre of considerations.
The Group’s work has now concluded, and the final report which sets out the contributions made by members of the Transport Working Group for the enhancement of transport and mobility supports for people with disabilities is presently being finalised, and subsequently will be published on the website of the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration, and Youth.
While the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration, and Youth has a policy coordination role in relation to disability matters, it does not hold responsibility for the administration of any transport or mobility supports for people with disabilities. It is therefore incumbent on colleagues across Government, with responsibility for the delivery of transport and mobility supports, to carefully consider how the recommendations of the Transport Working Group ought to be advanced.
Should the Deputy require further details on specific transport schemes or mobility supports, my colleagues across Government with responsibility for such schemes or supports may be able to comment specifically on the extent to which they enable young adults with intellectual disabilities to attend further education, employment and training facilities.