School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education. In the 2019/20 school year over 120,000 children, including over 14,200 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 €219m in 2019.
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.
Under the terms of the Department's Post-Primary School Transport Scheme children are eligible for school transport where they reside not less than 4.8 kilometres from and are attending their nearest school/education centre as determined by my Department/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language.
The closing date for payment for the 2020/2021 school year was Tuesday 4th August 2020. All children who are eligible for school transport and who applied and paid by the deadline have been 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.
Bus Éireann, who operate school transport on behalf of my Department, has advised that the children from the area referred to by the Deputy are not eligible under the terms of the scheme for school transport to the post-primary centre referred to as this is not their nearest post-primary centre.