asked the Minister for Education if he will have a survey made in the Ballingeary area of West Cork to ascertain the distance children have to travel to school and whether, in view of the nature of the Gaeltacht area, he will arrange to have special travelling facilities provided for these children.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Travelling Facilities for School Children.
State grants in aid of transport services for the conveyance of children to school can be made in cases where the average daily number conveyed is normally not less than ten. In order to be eligible for conveyance to school by a van service a child should be between the ages of six and ten years and reside at least two miles from the nearest school or be between the ages of ten and 14 years and reside not less than three miles from the nearest school.
The present arrangement of schools in the Ballingeary area appears to afford reasonable educational facilities for the children residing in that area and no application has been received in my Department for the provision of a transport service in the district. If such an application is made it will receive careful consideration but I do not consider that a general survey is necessary.
Is the Minister aware that I made more than one representation in this connection to his predecessor during the course of the last three years? In view of the fact that this is a Fíor Gaeltacht area, catering as it does for the development of the Irish language, would the Minister give it his special consideration, taking into account the nature of the country and the type of work that it is doing?
Had any representations been made from the local people I would certainly have considered them. I have no reason to believe that the survey is necessary. I am very familiar with the areas the Deputy mentions, and I know exactly where the schools are situated and how far apart they are. I do not believe that there is any need for transport, but if there is any case made for it I will have it examined.
Considering that the Minister says he is so familiar with this locality, is not this the same area in which he could not secure election to the Cork County Council?