Government ‘Gone to Ground’ amid School Bus chaos – Matt Carthy TD
Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy has accused Minister for Education, Norma Foley, and government TDs of having ‘gone to ground’ on the problems many families continue to face in accessing student transport.
Deputy Carthy this week reported that he was dealing with more families now than at the beginning of the school year, as some students have been ordered off their school buses despite being eligible and having paid for their tickets.
Teachta Carthy said:
“We are nearly half way through the school the year, and many parents are worn out from the problems around school transport.
“My office is being contacted daily by parents who are struggling to get any communication, let alone an answers or assistance from Bus Éireann or the Department of Education.
“Last Summer I had asked Minister Foley to provide assurance that every student that was eligible for school transport would be provided with a seat on their bus. She indicated at that time that this would be a priority for government.
“Yet since September, many students in Counties like Monaghan have been unable to access school transport because of bureaucracy and government failure. The bulk of the cases I have been dealing with in Co. Monaghan were those who were late paying their fees. There are several reasons for this including, in many cases, where families didn’t have the funds at the time or where they couldn’t access the website.
“Recently, students in Co Monaghan who have been travelling to school by bus since September have been ordered off their school bus! In other instances, students have been denied access to school transport since the beginning of the school year despite the fact that they are eligible and their bus fees have been paid.
“This is scandalous. All the while the Minister with responsibility has gone to ground while local government supporting TDs have been silent on the issue.
“This is an issue that primarily affects rural communities. It is discriminatory because it places a burden on some families to access education for their children.
“The government must act now to ensure that those eligible for school transport get a seat on their school bus. I will continue to challenge Minister Foley on this issue. Government silence while families struggle to manage their children’s transport to school is not acceptable”.