Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice expresses concerns over the school transport service.
I am calling on the Minister for Education and the Minister for Transport to intervene to resolve what I am describing as the chaos that is the school transport service.
Children are literally being left on the side of the road as a result of yet another monumental failure of government policy.
My constituency office is inundated with requests for assistance from parents whose children are being refused concessionary school bus tickets.
It is backwards our country is going in relation to school transport, not forward.
Minister Ryan has been waging a war on carbon emissions for years, yet when he has it well within his power to make a massive impact and actually make the lives of ordinary people easier, he is failing to do so.
School transport service
I have to ask: does the minister wish to continue the trend of every mammy and daddy in the country lining up in their cars outside schools twice a day, or does he want to do the right thing?
In the recession-riddled 80s, Ireland could cater more than adequately for all the children in this country who required school transport.
When bigger buses or more buses were needed, they were provided.
There was great fanfare earlier this year when the government announced that school transport would be made available free to parents this year; however, that is not much good if there are not the spaces needed.
And to be clear, the parents who are contacting me are not looking for free transport. They have been happy to pay for years and are happy to pay now.
It is baffling that no exercise was carried out over the last number of years to forward plan for demand.
It is not a difficult thing to calculate how many children needed transport last year, how many were leaving school, and how many children were coming into the school transport system this year.
In many cases, children who had, up until now, been afforded a place through the school transport service are being refused.
School transport is the low-hanging fruit in the fight against carbon emissions, but it seems to me that the government is full of bluff and bluster when it comes to tackling the real issues.
It is more interested in the appearance of problem-solving than progressing its agenda in a meaningful and practical way.
If the Ministers with responsibility are not fit to sort this problem out, Taoiseach Micheal Martin must intervene immediately.
It is nothing short of a disgrace that families that went through the correct process and made their applications in good time are being told with two weeks to go that there is no room on the bus.
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