Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Ceisteanna (515)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

515. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Education the position regarding a school transport refund for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38656/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

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.

The decision taken by the Government to close schools with effect from 13th March 2020 was taken in the interest of protecting our pupils, their families, teachers and those members of the wider community and is one of the many measures taken to support efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Given that the school transport services were not available to children from 13th March, it was decided that at the end of the 2019/20 school year a refund for that period of closure will be issued to parents. Bus Éireann issued refunds regarding these closures during the summer months.

Bus Éireann has confirmed that a refund was issued to the family referred to by the Deputy this week and the family have been contacted to advise them of same.