Kerrane raises school transport ‘circus’ in Dáil

Sinn Féin TD for Roscommon/Galway Claire Kerrane has told the Dáil that the annual ‘circus’ surrounding school transport has to be addressed once and for all.

Raising the issue with the Minister for Education in the Dáil on Tuesday, Deputy Kerrane said: “It is incredible that in 2023 we have the long list of issues we have every year with school transport. The same issues arise over and over again. Every year, during the summer months, the circus that is school transport begins.

“There is a long list of cases in my offices coming from parents in County Roscommon and particularly in Ballinasloe when it comes to the Galway part of my constituency. In one case, I have family where a brother gets a ticket but a sister does not, and she has to cycle down the road to get on a second bus. She used to be able to get on the bus with her brother outside their home but cannot do so now and the two buses are going to the same school.

“I have several cases where children have been approved for a bus ticket and either the bus ticket is given to them and revoked or they get another email to say they will not actually get the ticket because there is no room on the bus”.

In response to the minister’s claim in her speech that no bus routes have been cancelled, Deputy Kerrane raised the plight of St Teresa’s Special School in Ballinasloe who have lost a bus route.

“Parents were not notified and only found out second-hand. The Principal has been engaging with Bus Éireann for the past number of weeks trying to sort it out. There is no bus and so there is no service and these parents have been left high and dry. This is unacceptable and has put parents in a really difficult position where, in some cases, they literally cannot get their child to school”.

Deputy Kerrane concluded: “The entire system needs radial reform. It needs to work for parents and we have to get it right once and for all”.