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'Carlos (5) cried for two hours over no school bus place' - mum

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Carlos Neeson gives a thumbs-up but was in tears

Carlos Neeson gives a thumbs-up but was in tears

Carlos Neeson gives a thumbs-up but was in tears

A five-year-old boy with autism has been unable to return to school because he has yet to receive a place on a school bus, his mother has said.

Tracy Neeson, from Mulhuddart, Dublin, said her son Carlos was left in tears at not being able to attend his first week at St Paul's Special School in Beaumont as the family rely on a Bus Eireann school bus to take him there.

"I'm a single mum and I don't drive, we have no other options. It could be January by the time he starts school at this stage," Tracy told the Herald.

"I've two other children in schools nearby that have to be collected and I wouldn't make it out to Beaumont in time to pick up Carlos too.

"It could involve four buses a day and a two-and-a-half hour journey each way."

Tracy said Carlos had been looking forward to starting back at school all summer and was heartbroken when he couldn't return with his peers last Thursday.

"He's absolutely devastated. The only thing he's been looking forward to is school," she said.

"He sees the bus going by every morning. One day he tried to run after it. My heart is breaking for him.

"He got up last Tuesday, put his uniform on and cried for two hours when he found out he couldn't go."

During his first year at St Paul's, Carlos took the bus to and from school, as well as to a different Dublin school that he attended last year.

Frustrated

Over the past week, Tracy says she has been trying to get a response from Bus Eireann and the Department of Education and Skills as to why her son's name is not on the list.

"No one has been able to make contact with them. All they need to do is put Carlos's name on a list but we haven't heard anything," she added.

"He's missing out on school time, it's causing behaviour issues I've never seen before. He's frustrated and taking it out on me because he doesn't understand why he can't go."

Bus Eireann said that as St Paul's is a special needs school all applications are made through the Department of Education and Skills.

"While Bus Eireann do not generally comment on individual cases, I can confirm that we currently have no record of any application from the aforementioned pupil on file," a Bus Eireann spokesperson said.

According to the Department of Education, children are eligible for the transport scheme under the following criteria:

  • If they have special educational needs arising from a diagnosed disability.
  • They are attending the nearest recognised mainstream school, special class/special school or a unit that is or can be resourced to meet their special educational needs.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education said: "It is the policy of the department not to comment on individual cases."


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