Dáil Éireann - Volume 291 - 24 June, 1976

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - School Transport System.

3. Mr. J. O'Leary asked the Minister for Education if he is aware of the grave dissatisfaction among parents and teachers regarding the operation of the school transport scheme, that in many instances eligible children are denied transport because of lack of accommodation in buses and that some parents are being asked to send their families to different schools; and if he will outline the steps he proposes to take to have all these matters rectified by 1st September, 1976.

Mr. Bruton: I am not aware that there is grave dissatisfaction among parents and teachers regarding the operation of the school transport [1681] scheme. A parent or teacher who is not satisfied with the standard of school transport provided for his district should inform the Department so that the situation, which is the source of his dissatisfaction, may be rectified, if that is possible within the provisions of the scheme, or, if it is not possible, that it may be fully explained to him why the facility he seeks cannot be granted.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that this reply will be considered the joke of the week? Does he read any correspondence to his Department from parents, teachers and public representatives in connection with the scheme? Is he aware that this scheme is in utter chaos throughout the country and that there is a grave danger of it breaking down completely?

Mr. Bruton: The answers to the questions are No, Yes, No, No.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Will the Parliamentary Secretary give any guarantee that he will set up this scheme again on a proper basis by 1st September?

Mr. Bruton: The scheme is operating on a proper basis.

Mr. J. O'Leary: That is not so.

Mr. Power: Would the Parliamentary Secretary care to comment on a feeling that is very prevalent that his Department have embarked on a programme of phasing out catchment areas for amalgamated national schools and that during the tenure of office of the present Minister promises that were made during the terms of office of previous Ministers which allowed national schools to be amalgamated quietly and smoothly are being reneged on by the Department?

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is widening the issue.

Mr. Bruton: The allegation contained in the Deputy's question is without foundation.