Burton 'values' free travel scheme
Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has said pensioners should not be too worried about the possibility of losing their entitlement to free travel.
“Well if I were them I wouldn’t be enormously worried,” she said.
“There’s a review which is part of the overall review of all the headings of expenditure within the Department of Social Protection.”
Speaking to reporters in Dublin this morning, Ms Burton said there had been a funding allocation of €77 million per year to the free transport scheme since 2010 and it was capped at that.
The Minister said there were issues with some of the transport providers who were aware the €77 million per year was a “very, very large spend by Government”.
“I know that they value the business...and it’s a matter for review and discussion,” she added.
“I want to put on record how much I value, and the Government values, the free transport scheme. It’s certainly my intention to be very clear to people…that it has been a very valuable resource and benefit for seniors.”
Fianna Fáil spokesman on social protection Willie O’Dea said it was disappointing that Ms Burton had failed to rule out cuts to the scheme.
“While I welcome the Minister’s attempts today to ease the concerns of older people about the Government’s review of the free travel pass, it is very disappointing that she stopped short of ruling out any cut to this much valued scheme,” he said. “She must immediately do so.”