Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has called on the Department of Education, and Bus Eireann to act immediately to address the current situation impacting on students at Avondale Community College in Rathdrum. Up to sixty pupils who have been issued with eligible school bus tickets for this year have no transport available to take them to school.
“On the week where pupils all over Wicklow are returning to school, we have a situation that has been allowed to develop in relation to students at Avondale Community College in Rathdrum, where up to sixty students, some of whom paid for their bus tickets last May have found out that there is no bus available to take them to school. This is simply unacceptable.” said Brady
Bus Eireann and the Department of Education had all summer to sort this out. Now we have the completely unacceptable situation where there is not school transport available to take dozens of children to school.
My office has been contacted by large numbers of parents locally who are desperate to get this situation sorted and to ensure that there is school transport available locally to take their children to school.
Sinn Féin has repeatedly called for 10,000 additional places on School Bus Transport to meet the demand across the state, however the government failed to deliver that and now families are paying the price for these shortages.
Expanding School Transport is a no brainer- it reduces traffic, emissions, and makes life easier and cheaper for families. This could have been a really positive scheme, but instead the government’s poor planning has let families down.
The Minister has failed to give answers to families here in Wicklow who need to know urgently what will happen next to solve this. The Minister must intervene urgently. She should instruct Bus Éireann to look within their own and the private bus sector’s resources to expand capacity to ensure that no child is left without a seat.
Sinn Féin want to work with the Minister to find solutions, so no child is left without a seat, and we are calling for her to meet with the Education and Transport Committee as soon as possible and work with us constructively on this.
What has been allowed to happen in Rathdrum is inexcusable and needs to be addressed immediately.
The government needs to publish the long overdue School Transport Scheme Review.
The current shambles is placing huge pressure on families who are now left in the lurch with just days to find a solution.
The School Transport Scheme review is long overdue and has been ongoing for more than two and a half years now. The review began in February 2021 and the scheme is operating on a temporary basis in the meantime.
This review is integral in establishing a viable future for the school transport system and these delays have fuelled the chaos and uncertainty families are now experiencing.
Families in Rathdrum, and across Wicklow deserve better than this chaos and confusion which happens in some form or other every year and is totally avoidable. Government must publish the transport review and ensure families get the certainty they need.”