Minister for Health James Reilly has admitted the coalition Government is inflicting "tremendous distress" on people as a result of changes to the issuing of medical cards. The comments come just two days before the country takes to the polling stations to vote in local and European Parliament elections.
Dr Reilly said the controversy over children with Down Syndrome and adults with multiple sclerosis losing their cards “is not a place I want to be as a doctor or as a minister for health”.
Speaking at a launch of new services at the Mater Hospital, he said the Government is examining ways to change the system to protect the most vulnerable people in society but he did not go into specific details of how this would come about.
Dr Reilly commented, “It is not our intention to allow a situation continue where those who are clearly vulnerable and in need whilst maybe having means of €400 and €500 a week are left without the supports that they need for themselves and for their children. This government wants to restore the economy, but it wants to restore the economy to serve our society. And part of that has to be making sure the most vulnerable and most in need are looked after.”
“I understand the pain and distress this is causing,” the minister said. “Obviously not in the immediate week or two, but in a number of months this issue will be and has to be addressed.”
If you would like to make your voice heard ahead of the elections on 23rd May have a look at our elections hub and get informed before you cast your vote. As part of our World MS Day campaign we are calling on people all over Ireland to lobby their local TD to put the serious issues facing people with MS on the political agenda – it’s quick and easy so please take action today.