Sunday 21 October 2018

Thousands without transport as Bus Eireann cancels school services over Hurricane Ophelia Newsdesk Newsdesk

THOUSANDS of students have had their school transport cancelled on Monday over safety concerns caused by Hurricane Ophelia.

School Transport Scheme services operated by Bus Éireann in Cork, Kerry, Clare, Mayo and Galway will not operate due to Met Éireann’s Status Red weather warning, the company said in a statement this afternoon.

Parents, schools and school management bodies have previously been advised of this policy - adopted in 2015- to ensure school children are not endangered in any way.

Yesterday, Bus Éireann contacted parents, school management bodies and school transport contractors by email to inform them that this situation may arise.

This decision is guided by Met Éireann’s Status Red weather warning, which advises that ‘action is taken’ to protect against the possible effects of severe weather.

Many of the 116,000 children who use the School Transport Scheme daily make their way to pick up points to board the bus, on minor roads, and could therefore be exposed to severe elements, the company said.

"We are aware this decision may cause inconvenience, but safety of schoolchildren is our number one priority.

"Schools will make their own decisions on whether to open or remain closed, but School Transport Scheme services will not operate in – or into – areas affected by Status Red.

"Services are expected to resume in these counties on Tuesday - as Met Éireann have advised that the Status Red alert ends at 03.00 on October 17", a spokesperson said.

Met Eireann issued a red weather warning for Galway, Cork, Mayo, Clare and Kerry and an orange weather warning for the rest of the country as Ophelia barrels towards Ireland.

Mean wind speeds in excess of 80 km/h and gusts in excess of 130km/h are expected, potentially causing structural damage and disruption, with dangerous marine conditions due to high seas and potential flooding.

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