Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Questions (161)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

161. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a student (details supplied) in County Kerry will be made eligible for school transport after the submission of further documentation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53486/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

School transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department.

There are currently over 117,500 children, including over 13,000 children with special educational needs, transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres annually. The purpose of the 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 if they meet the distance criteria and are attending their nearest school.

In cases where the Department is satisfied that the nearest school is full, eligibility for school transport will be determined based on the distance that children reside from their next nearest school having regard to ethos and language.

Children who are eligible for school transport and who complete the application process on time are accommodated on school transport services where such services are in operation. Children who are not eligible for school transport, but who complete the application process on time, are considered for spare seats that may exist after eligible children have been facilitated; such seats are referred to as concessionary seats. Only children who are eligible for school transport and who hold valid Medical Cards are exempt from paying the annual charge.

Bus Éireann has advised that the child in question is not eligible for school transport as he is not attending his nearest school. Bus Éireann has also advised that a ticket was issued to the pupil referred to by the Deputy on a concessionary basis for the 2019/20 school year.

The family is advised to contact School Transport Section of my Department in regard to this matter.