The Government has said it is ending the Mobility Allowance and the Motorised Transport Grant schemes to new applicants, with immediate effect.

It follows the view of the Ombudsman in recent reports that both schemes were being operated illegally by the Department of Health and the Health Service Executive.

Emily O'Reilly said the schemes were not in line with the Equal Status Act, because they excluded applicants over 66 years.

The Government said the payment of the mobility allowance to those who are currently in receipt of it will continue for another four months.

It insisted that the decision is not intended to save costs but follows a consultation review process.

The funding involved in the two schemes is around €10.6m

The State said that each year, 4,700 people receive a mobility allowance and 300 receive a motorised transport grant.