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.
A number of changes to the School Transport Scheme were introduced in Budget 2011, which derived from recommendations in the Value for Money Review of the Scheme. These changes encompassed a number of elements and included the cessation of the 'Closed/Central School Rule' at primary level.
Children are generally eligible for school transport if they satisfy the distance criteria and are attending their nearest school. The child referred to by the Deputy is not attending his nearest school and is therefore not eligible for school transport under the terms of the Primary School Transport Scheme.
Children who are not eligible for school transport may apply for transport on a concessionary basis only which is subject to a number of conditions that are detailed in the Scheme.
In this regard, Bus Éireann has advised that there are seats available on an existing service and the family should liaise with their local Bus Éireann office if they wish to avail of school transport on a concessionary basis.
The terms of the School Transport Schemes are applied equitably on a national basis.