Dáil Éireann - Volume 481 - 15 October, 1997

Written Answers - School Transport.

131. Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of extra children who would benefit by re-routing the school bus travelling from Ladysbridge to Kilcredan national school, County Cork in order that it would take in Knockglass and Ballincaurlea; the amount it would cost to make this change for a full school year; if he will authorise this change; and, if so, when it will come into effect. [16540/97]

Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): There are 19 eligible pupils availing of transport to Kilcredan national school who would benefit from the proposed re-routing. These pupils live between 0.2 and 0.8 miles from the present pick-up point and are well catered for within my Department guidelines.

The annual cost of the proposed re-routing is estimated at £360, which, taken in isolation, may [1077] appear insignificant. However, if similar criteria were to be applied on a nationwide basis the resultant additional cost to the State would be considerable. The rules of the school transport scheme must be applied consistently to all areas, and to allow preferential treatment in one case, even at a relatively low cost, would inevitably lead to demands for improved services elsewhere.

There is the further consideration that three other pupils on this service would be adversely affected if the change in the route were implemented. Given that the above-mentioned 19 pupils already have a very satisfactory level of service in the overall context of the scheme, I regret that I am not in a position to authorise the change as requested by the Deputy.