School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department. In the 2018/2019 school year over 117,500 children, including over 13,000 children with special educational needs, were transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres at a cost of over €200m in 2018.
The purpose of my Department's School Transport Scheme is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children who reside remote from their nearest school. In general, children are eligible for school transport where they meet the distance criteria and are attending their nearest school.
Distance eligibility is determined by Bus Éireann by measuring the shortest traversable route from the child’s home to the relevant education centre.
In regard to the case referred to by the Deputy, Bus Éireann was requested to carry out a calibrated measurement on the distance from Quin to Ennis and Tulla respectively. The report from Bus Eireann has recently been received and has confirmed that Ennis is the nearest school location. Officials from School Transport Section of my Department will now be in contact with the Ombudsman for Children's Office.