Fine Gael TD for Dublin Fingal, Alan Farrell, has welcomed confirmation from the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton TD, that the Government has absolutely no intention of changing the Free Travel Pass Scheme for older people in any way.
“Speaking on radio this morning the Minister clarified that the Government has no plan to remove free travel passes from older people and there has been no suggestion that the free travel scheme is to be changed.
“This Government has delivered three budgets without touching the Free Travel Pass and this is not set to change in Budget 2015.
“I want to assure older people across the country that there is no fear of their travel pass being removed. As is the case every year, issues are raised by Age Action Ireland in their pre-budget submission. This was one of the issues earmarked by Age Action Ireland as they are eager it is protected. This was never raised by Government as a possible area for cuts.
“A working group is currently reviewing the free travel scheme but it has not yet finalised its report. When this review concludes, the Minister will receive a copy of its report and recommendations for consideration.
“I totally understand why people would be concerned by any discussion of changes to the Free Travel Pass Scheme, but I can assure you that the Government fully appreciate the importance and value of this scheme to those who use it.
“The Free Travel Pass gives older people freedom and independence; it supports them in getting to appointments, in visiting friends and family. This is a scheme that the Government does not intend to change.
“Fine Gael recognises the sacrifices people have made in recent years, these sacrifices are starting to pay off as we move towards recovery. I want to quash any rumours that may be circulating; this is not an area where cuts will be made.”