imageMan missed signing on as cars were parked illegally in disabled bay. 

A man who uses a wheelchair has had his disability allowance cut because he could not find a parking space.

Frank Larkin missed signing on at his local post office in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, after cars were parked illegally in the disabled bay.

Mr Larkin (41), who has spina bifida, drove around the town several times but could still not park. He managed to sign on to claim his money the following week.

However, this week Mr Larkin, Long Lane, Letterkenny, received a letter from the disability allowance office of the Department of Social Protection asking him why he missed signing on for one week.

The letter informed him that his €188 weekly benefit was now being cut unless he explained in writing the reason for missing his signing-on appointment.

Mr Larkin said he was fuming at the attitude to his case.

“If they had picked up the phone and called me then I could have explained. Instead I am now faced with this dilemma that I may not receive any money for several weeks. It’s an utter scandal.”

Mr Larkin had received his payments since he missed the signing-on period from April 10th to 16th, but this week’s letter suspending his allowance came out of the blue.

He said he could probably make arrangements to have his allowance paid into his bank account but he preferred to collect it in person.

“I’m a sociable kind of man and I like to get out and about. I like going down the street and chatting to people,” Mr Larkin added. “I’m also a bit weary of putting my money into banks. I have bills to pay and I need the cash and prefer not going in and out of banks.”He said the situation also highlighted the consequences of people parking illegally in disabled bays.

The Department of Social Protections said it will contact Mr Larkin to resolve his problem as promptly as possible.

By Stephen Maguire

The Irish Times