Where are all the medical card holders?
Donegal has 55 per cent of population with full medical cards; Laois/Offaly has highest proportion of discretionary cards
An analysis by The Irish Times shows significant regional variations in the number of discretionary medical card-holders as well as in the number of overall medical cards.
Laois/Offaly is the area with the highest proportion of discretionary medical cards, at 2.5 per cent of the population, followed closely by Cork city and county. Waterford, Limerick /Tipperary and Sligo/Leitrim also have higher than average proportions of discretionary medical-card holders.
Co Meath has the lowest proportion of discretionary medical cards, at just over 1 per cent. The greater Dublin area records 1.1 per cent of the population with discretionary cards, with Co Louth at 1.2 per cent.
The proportion of the population with full medical cards varies from 55 per cent in Co Donegal to 32 per cent in the greater Dublin region. (In some areas, the HSE does not publish individual county figures for the number of medical cards per county so calculations have been based on the larger areas for which figures are available.)
After Co Donegal, counties Mayo, Waterford and Louth have relatively high numbers of medical cards.
The medical card figures were provided by Minister for Health James Reilly in response to parliamentary questions from Sinn Féin TDs Peadar Toibín and Pádraig Mac Lochlainn.
The discretionary medical card figures were provided by Minister of State for Primary Care Alex White in response to a parliamentary question from Labour TD Ged Nash.