Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Questions (368, 369, 370)

Brian O'Shea

Question:

509 Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Education and Science her proposals to carry out an early review of school transport (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25107/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

The pupils to whom the Deputy refers are eligible for catchment boundary transport only to the post-primary centre in question. My Department has no plans to review the catchment boundary lines at this time.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

510 Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Education and Science if there are proposals to restore the school transport service for students from the Kncokmeal and Carrigroe areas to Clonmel; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25108/04]

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The pupils to whom the Deputy refers are eligible for catchment boundary transport only to Clonmel post-primary centre. My Department has been advised by Bus Éireann that the local transport contractor, who resided in the area and operated the service to Clonmel, collected the children on a personal basis locally on the light running of the service to the catchment boundary line. This was an unofficial arrangement and not a feature of the school transport scheme. The new bus contractor collects the pupils from the nearest pick-up point within the Clonmel catchment area. An extension of service to the Knockmeal-Carrigroe area is not possible as this would involve an encroachment into another catchment area which would be contrary to the terms of the school transport scheme.

John McGuinness

Question:

511 Mr. McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Science if the circumstances of persons attending schools in Carlow from Leighlinbridge and Bagenalstown will be re-examined with a view to providing school transport for the 18 persons involved; if their cases will be expedited in view of the exceptional circumstances of each; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25115/04]

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The pupils to whom the Deputy refers are eligible for catchment boundary transport only to Carlow town post-primary centre, as they are not attending the post-primary centre of the catchment area in which they live. Transport may be allowed to catchment boundary pupils, subject to there being room available on a service after all fully eligible children have been accommodated and provided there is no additional cost involved by way of extending a service, or introducing a larger bus. The service in question is currently operating to capacity and it is not possible to facilitate the pupils in question with catchment boundary transport.