School Children Abandoned Without Transport
Aontú Leader & Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín and Trim Area Representative for Aontú, Jack Lynch have slammed the Government’s complete abdication of duty in addressing the school transport crisis arising from Covid-19.
Tóibín & Lynch: “Covid-19 has brought absolute chaos to school transportation. The government has added to this chaos by virtue of their mishandling of the matter. Social distancing and infection regulations have drastically reduced the capacity of school buses, but the government failed to put in place any additional resources or plan ahead to meet the predicted shortfall. As a result, many children are left stranded and abandoned without school transport.”
“It is not acceptable that parents received a text message two nights before schools reopened saying that their children had no place on the bus due to a random lottery for places. Telling this to families at the eleventh hour and giving them no time to plan how they are going to manage to get their child to school is totally unacceptable. In one area of Meath, we are aware of twelve students who have been denied a bus place. All twelve students go to Trim to school and they live in a relatively close proximity so the addition of one extra medium sized bus on the road would facilitate all of these students. We have been trying to make contact with the Regional Manager of Bus Éireann School Transport Section all week. We have left numerous voicemails and sent two emails but to date we have received no reply. We also contacted Minister of State Niall Collins office as during the last Government the responsibility of school transport fell under the Minister of State in the Department of Education. His office told us to contact Minister Foleys office. When we rang her office they told us to contact Bus Éireann.”
“No one seems to want to know about this problem. Our office has been passed from Billy to Jack one minute and ignored the next. We have a solution, but no one wants to deal with the problem. These families are making multiple trips a day dropping students to school. Some families have children in both primary and secondary schools. Parents have been forced to take time off work last week while they try and find a solution but this cannot be sustained indefinitely. The inaction by the department of Education and Bus Éireann has led to extreme pressure on people and if this inaction continues it will put them under pressure with their employers. We are calling on the Government and Bus Éireann to address this problem and work with local bus companies and contractors to fix it. If you are in the position where your child has lost their bus place due to Covid-19 in the South Meath area, please contact our office in Trim. We will continue to seek to pressure Bus Éireann this week and get this problem sorted.”