Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Ceisteanna (210)

Denis Naughten


210. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a reply will issue to correspondence (details supplied); the reason for the delay in same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48918/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

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

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 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. 

Children are eligible for school transport where they reside 3.2 kilometres or over and are attending their nearest primary school as determined by the Department/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language.

The pupil referred by the Deputy was issued with a concessionary ticket for the 2019/2020 school as, at the time of application, the application was for transport to a school which was not the closest school to the family home.   Confirmation has recently been received from the Patron of that school that the school has closed with effect from the start of the 2019/2020 school year.

Eligible children who hold valid medical cards (GMS Scheme) are exempt from paying the school transport charge.  Bus Éireann has advised that the family referred to by the Deputy is attending their nearest school and the Bus Éireann are liaising directly with this family regarding a refund of fees.