Carthy hits out as Bus Eireann tells TDs it won’t seek additional school bus capacity
Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has described as ‘unacceptable’ a commication he received from Bus Eireann this week that stated: ‘Additional capacity is not being sought for concessionary pupils who did not secure tickets for the 22/23 school year’.
Carthy, who last week said that his office has been inundated with parents at crisis point because their children have been denied places on their local school bus has hit out at the Minister for Education, Norma Foley, who has refused to attend the Oireachtas Education committee to discuss the issue.
Teachta Carthy said:
“I am aware of dozens of Monaghan families whose children are still denied places on their local school bus. The latest response I received from Bus Eireann amounts to ‘tough luck’. Government, whose incompetence led to this situation, have gone into hiding.
“The Minister for Education, Norma Foley, has refused to attend the Oireachtas Education committee to discuss the crisis, despite being offered five alternative dates for a meeting.
“The implications are wide-ranging for many families. In some instances that I am aware of, one parent will have no option but to quit their job to order to drive and collect their children from school. All the while the local school bus passes by their front door.
“The failure by government to expand capacity on the School Transport Scheme, in conjunction with the elimination of fares, was monumental failure that epitomises the current Fianna Fáil/ Fine Gael government.
“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.
“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.
“Bus Eireann have now stated that they will not seek additional capacity – a position that will be devastating news to many families. Government apparently think the can hide away from the issue.
“But, we in Sinn Féin won’t allow that. We will continue to press this issue until a school bus seat is secured for every child that needs one”.