Tuesday 17 September 2019

Children 'denied school bus seat'

Call for more school bus places as situation 'worse than last year'

Sinn Féin Councillor Thomas Healy is calling for an immediate increase in school bus capacity as dozens of families are denied places on the school bus for the new academic year.

"In 2016 Minister Halligan made a solemn commitment that no child would be denied a school bus place," stated Cllr Healy.

"Each year since, parents have been forced to beg and plead for a seat on a bus for their children.

"This year, I have again been inundated with call from parents with children in Summerhill College, the Ursuline, St Mary's Ballisodare and Coola.

"The issue is worse now than previous years, both concessionary and non concessionary students are being denied a place on the bus bringing them to school despite being willing to pay for the service."

"The effect of this on families is huge, parents have to take time off work in order to do a school run, and there is an increased volume of cars on the road increasing everyone's CO2 emissions.

"The solution is blindingly obvious; the Minister needs to fund Bus Eireann to increase capacity allowing all children to attend the school of their choice.

"Sinn Féin knew that this was going to be a major issue again this year and Deputy Martin Kenny has been seeking a meeting with the Minister over the past month.

"Party representatives have informed us that last year in Minister McHugh's own constituency a common sense solution was found, extra buses were provided and every child got their seat.

"I am calling for this precedent to be afforded to Sligo children or to children in any other area that need a bus seat.

"There is enough stress and financial pressure on pupils and their parents already, let the Government do the right thing here and ensure they can all go to and from school equally," said Cllr Healy.

Sligo Champion