Changes to free travel scheme should be ruled out, says McGuinness

Deputy John McGuinness says it is deeply disappointing that the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has failed to rule out any cuts or changes to the free travel scheme.

Deputy John McGuinness says it is deeply disappointing that the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has failed to rule out any cuts or changes to the free travel scheme.

The Fianna Fáil TD made the comments as concern grows in Kilkenny and Carlow about the future of the scheme.

“The Government has engaged a major review of the free travel pass, a scheme which has enormous value to older people in Carlow, Kilkenny and across the country. The fact that this review is taking place with no information being made available from the government is causing distress among older people,” he said.

“The free travel scheme has been of huge benefit to thousands of people for many years. They depend on it and it makes no sense to impose cuts or restrictions to it. We will oppose any attempt by the Government to cut the free travel scheme and I am calling on Fine Gael and Labour TDs to pledge to do the same.”

“I know from my own constituents that any change to their travel pass or even the possibly that it could be removed who caused anger and fear. If there is no basis to this, the Government should not be waiting so long to ease their concerns,” Deputy McGuinness said.

“The minister has insisted that the Government places a high value on the free travel scheme. If that truly is the case, she should put this issue to bed once and for all by ruling out any cuts whatsoever.”