“Another fine mess from chaotic government” as Monaghan families endure school bus crisis – Matt Carthy TD
Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has said that his office has been inundated with parents at crisis point because their children have been denied places on their local school bus. Deputy Carthy said this was the latest misstep by the ‘government of choas’ who eliminated school transport fees without expanding capacity. He called on the Minister for Education to urgently intervene to expand capacity to allow all children who need a place on their bus to receive one.
Teachta Carthy said:
“Over the past week I have been contacted by dozens of Monaghan families whose children have been denied places on their local school bus. Indeed, it appears that a record number of students will be refused a school bus seat this year due to a total lack of planning by Government.
“The failure by government to expand capacity on the School Transport Scheme, in conjunction with the elimination of fares, is causing a crisis for families.
“The removal of fares has resulted in unprecedented numbers applying for the scheme, but because of the strict criteria in place, thousands of children who are categorised as ‘concessionary’ are now being refused a seat.
“To make matters worse, many of those who are being refused have used the scheme for years and this leaves their parents in a very difficult position, as they cannot do the school run due to work commitments and totally depend on the school bus. In some cases in County Monaghan there are families where some children have received bus tickets while other have been refused. It is a typical misstep by a government of chaos that, once again, impacts on ordinary families.
“Families who expected to realise savings of €500 now look set, instead, to be heaped with additional costs as they try to find alternatives to the school bus that is driving past their front door, yet denied to their children.
“It’s a spectacular failure of planning and turned what should be a good news story on fares into a nightmare for many who will now be left without a seat.
“Sinn Féin has repeatedly called for the School Transport Scheme to be expanded and have proposed that 10,000 extra places should be added for 2023.
“Government intervention is urgently needed. Additional capacity must be provided to ensure that no child is left without a bus seat.
“It is not acceptable for government representatives to ignore this issue – they must act now.”