A man who lost his arm in a motorbike accident has been told he does not qualify for the Disabled Drivers Scheme.
38-year-old David Digan from Moate in County Westmeath was lucky to survive a motorcycle crash in May 2019 and has since had to abandon his career as a commercial diver.
He was left in a coma after the accident and spent six months recovering in hospital.
Mr Digan suffered a number of severe injuries, including the permanent paralysis of his left arm, which was later amputated.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning Mr Digan said that when he applied for a certificate needed to qualify for the Disabled Drivers scheme, "they basically told me that I wasn't paralysed enough”.
“They told me I didn't fit the criteria,” he said.
“Now, the criteria was written in 1968, which makes it nearly 60 years old and it is completely outdated – a lot of disabilities are not included in it.”
Mr Digan said he was later told that the rules had been successfully challenged in the Supreme Court; however, when he reapplied, he was again refused.
The Disabled Drivers scheme offers a range of tax benefits to help with the purchase of adapted vehicles.
Under the scheme, disabled drivers can claim back their VRT (Vehicle Remission Tax), the VAT on the purchase of a vehicle and the VAT on the cost of adapting the vehicle.
It is also possible to apply for an exemption from motor tax and road tolls and for the fuel grant.
In order to qualify for the Primary Medical Cert needed to access the scheme Mr Digan would have to show that he is without the use of either both his hands or both his arms.
David said the scheme would make his life much easier; however, it is unclear whether the criteria will be changed in the short term.
The entire Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal (DDMBA) resigned in November 2021, reportedly in protest against the overly strict criteria being applied to applicants.
Mr Digan said he hopes a new board will be in place by December – adding that he hopes this will see the process of modernising the criteria "kicking into action".