Sinn Féin councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has said that it is ‘ridiculous and unnecessary’ that substantial numbers of school pupils across Louth have been refused concessionary school transport places just weeks before the beginning of the new school term.
Councillor Ó Murchú stated:
“I am working with a number of families who have been refused school transport for the upcoming term.
“In many cases these pupils have received concessionary bus passes for years and families have built their daily routines around this provision.
“Thankfully some of these people have since received bus passes within the last number of days, but not all families are catered for.
“This fiasco occurs every summer and leads to unnecessary stress and annoyance for many families.
“Joe McHugh, the Minister for Education, who has ultimate responsibility for this scheme, indicated in media reports in recent days that the issue could be resolved with an additional investment of €4 million.
“He has said that efforts to agree this investment are being blocked by the Department of Public Expenditure.
“I have written to the Minister for Finance to ask him to re-examine this scheme and the manner in which it is operated by Bus Éireann. Sinn Féin has also called for changes to be made to the scheme.
“We simply cannot allow a system to prevail which causes this much uncertainty and annoyance to local families.”