Written Answers. - School Transport.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

133 Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Education and Science if his attention has been drawn to the fact that remote area school transport grants payable in respect of pupils attending Gaelscoil Dhochtúir Uí Shuilleabháin in Skibbereen have not been paid for the year 1998-9; his views on the ruling having regard to the fact the gaelscoil opened in 1994 and received official recognition in 1998; and if the will ensure that the grants outstanding for the year 1998-9 will be paid. [22136/99]

The position generally is that my Department may only establish a transport service under the terms of the school transport scheme or authorise payment of remote area grants towards the cost of private transport arrangements, in respect of schools, which have permanent recognition.

Gaelscoil Dhoctúir Uí Shuilleabháin was granted permanent recognition with effect from 7 September 1998 and my Department has paid remote area grants to a number of families with children attending the school in respect of the 1998-99 school year.

Payment inadvertently issued to two families in respect of the 1997-98 school year, when the school did not have permanent recognition. The families were notified of the position at the time. My Department withheld payment from those families for the 1998-99 school year, to cover the amount of the overpayment. Explanatory letters issued to the families last July.