Fine Gael Senator Kieran O'Donnell
THE Minister of State for Education has given a “firm public commitment” to provide extra bus places for students in County Limerick who were left stranded without a bus.
At the beginning of September, families in the Caherconlish area were were advised they did not qualify for a place on the concessionary bus to take them to John the Baptist secondary school in Hospital, as their homes are closer to the General Post Office in Limerick city.
Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills with special responsibility for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development John Halligan has now given a commitment to resolving the issue following a Seanad debate, according to Fine Gael Senator Kieran O’Donnell.
“I made the common sense argument to Minister Halligan that a resolution here must be found that ensures these pupils can get school public transport to their local secondary school in Hospital,” Senator O’Donnell said.
“I impressed upon Minister Halligan that John the Baptist in Hospital is the natural local secondary school for these East Limerick rural areas,” he added.
“However, due to their being marginally nearer the GPO in Limerick City rather than their local secondary school in Hospital, they are not eligible for school bus transport to there.”
“I advised the Minister, that 10 of these pupils were already concessions over the last numbers of years, consisting of two pupils for five years, two pupils for two years and six pupils for one year.”
“The other 10 pupils are first year concessions.”
Minister Halligan gave a “firm public commitment” to contact Bus Eireann to resolve the immediate need for pupils from the Caherconlish, Ballyneety, Fedamore and Donoghmore areas, he added.
“I held discussions with Minister Halligan on the matter both before and after the public debate. I have agreed with him, to have follow-up discussions over the next few days.”
“Also, I will be contacting Bus Eireann in Limerick to progress this important issue and arrange for a meeting with parents.”