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Bus abandoned girl 15km from home

BUS Eireann is investigating claims that a 12-year-old schoolgirl was abandoned 15km from home after a bus changed its route without warning.

Breda O'Brien says "every imaginable thought" went through her mind when her daughter Mary failed to come home from school.

The sixth class pupil had gotten on her usual bus to a Co Meath village but was left on the Navan Road near the Phoenix Park.

Ms O'Brien has complained to the bus company that it was irresponsible to drop off a schoolgirl at the side of a busy road when the bus was scheduled to stop in Dunboyne.



BATTERY

Bus Eireann say that they are treating the complaint "very seriously".

Ms O'Brien has told them that Mary sent her a text message when the bus was leaving saying her phone battery was about to die.

The mum maintains that the schoolgirl had checked if the bus was serving Dunboyne and had been told it would.

However, later that evening "all hell broke loose" when Mary failed to show up at the normal time.

"I went into absolute panic stations. I literally couldn't talk. I didn't know what I was going to do."

Ms O'Brien has complained to the bus operator that instead of going all the way to Dunboyne, it let off Mary and another woman at near the Halfway House pub on the Navan Road.

"There was no sign of Mary anywhere. She had no money and no phone," she told the Herald. Ms O'Brien rang Bus Eireann in the hope that the service had been delayed but was told that the bus had in fact reached the depot.

"I couldn't even talk. I was in floods of tears, particularly when she told me it was back in the depot," she said.

She alleges that the young girl was told that bus wouldn't be going any closer to Dunboyne than a stop which was nearly 15km away.

A spokesman for Bus Eireann said they have received a complaint and are investigating the alleged incident last Wednesday.

"Bus Eireann treat any such complaint very seriously. We are looking into this matter," said the spokesman. He said he couldn't comment any further until the investigation was complete.

Mary's mum added: "They shouldn't have dropped a young girl out at the Phoenix Park. Even if there was a need to change it they should have rung an inspector or something."



FREE

The family had only moved to Dunboyne two weeks previously and Breda took the first week off work so that they could do a dry run with the buses from there to Mary's school.

Luckily, the child walked a distance before discovering another bus which she had seen in Dunboyne before and the driver allowed her travel for free.

"Every imaginable thought went through my head. She doesn't go wandering around. She doesn't go anywhere without asking," said the mother. I want them to make sure this doesn't happen again.

"I wouldn't wish this on any parent in a million years."

kdoyle@herald.ie


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