Lost seats add to the burden on families
The Sutcliffe family are struggling to pay for one of their sons to travel on a private bus service, as he is deemed "concessionary".
Dad-of-four Marcus Sutcliffe, from Stamullen, Co Meath, and his wife Sharon, who works in the local Centra, have two sons who have been using the school bus service, which picks them up at the end of their estate. The bus brings 15 students to Coláiste na hInse, Laytown, 20 minutes away.
The couple are exempt from having to pay for the Bus Éireann service for their eldest son, Scott (17), because he has a medical card, but have to pay €350 for Aaron (15) for the year. The boys returned to school last Wednesday - but while Scott has retained his seat on the bus, Aaron has now been refused because he is deemed 'concessionary'.
Sales rep Marcus said they will now struggle financially. "It works out about €18 a week, so that adds up over the school term," he said. "It's going to be tight." He said there is also a time factor involved in switching buses. The private bus arrives at 7.10am and the Bus Éireann bus arrives at 7.30am. He said a meeting was held with TD Thomas Byrne at Patrick's GAA club where parents expressed concerns.