School Transport chaos continues for some Monaghan families – Matt Carthy TD
Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has warned that some Monaghan families continue to deal with school transport chaos as their children have yet to secure a seat on their school bus. He criticised the Department of Education for overseeing ‘the same repeated problems’ as last year which has resulted in children, who are eligible, for school transport being denied because of bureaucratic and technical issues.
Deputy Carthy raised the issue in the Dáil with the Minister for Education, Norma Foley.
“Last year, the biggest issue that my own office dealt with was the issue of school transport.
“I am aware of families where one parent had to give up their work because they went through the whole academic year with their child being unable to secure school transport for which they were eligible.
“There are often difficulties arising from the deadlines in place. We know that deadlines are in place to make the management of the system a little more controllable but there are often valid reasons people cannot meet a deadline including, in some instances that I am aware of, where parents simply do not have the money at a particular point in time to pay for that school transport”.
Following a response from the Minister that 98% of ‘all valid and paid-on-time applicants’ had been issued with a ticket, Carthy stated:
“That means that 2% have not. In percentage terms this may be a small number, but it is a substantial number in real terms and the impact is very real for those families. I urge the Minister to ensure that this figure reach 100% as quickly as possible.”
Deputy Carthy also called on the Minister to ensure that when capacity increased from 50% to 100% ‘that the additional spaces that this will allow for is actually used to ensure that more students receive concessionary bus tickets and that those for whom other anomalies have emerged are catered for, rather than simply dividing in half the number of buses available?
“We should use the opportunity that this will present to ensure that more students can avail of their local school bus.”
This week the Sinn Féin TD said that he would continue to press the Minister in this regard. “At a time when we are talking about climate action and the cost-of-living crisis it is crazy that, in County Monaghan, some parents have to get in their car to drive their children to school after watching the school bus drive past their front door – it is a chaotic situation that must be resolved” he concluded.