Dáil Éireann - Volume 489 - 22 April, 1998

Written Answers. - School Transport.

209. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason free transport is being withdrawn from children attending a school (details supplied) in County Kildare in view of [1680] the fact that the alternative school offered is outside their parish and the likely implications for a change of school are the break-up of the social fabric of the community; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9650/98]

Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): Under the terms of the primary school transport scheme, eligibility is determined by reference to distance from the nearest suitable school, and not on the basis of parish boundaries.

The children in question were granted free transport under the scheme on the understanding that they were attending their nearest suitable school. However, it recently came to the attention of Bus Éireann and my Department that these pupils reside nearer to another school.

That transport facilities have been held by children contrary to the terms of the school transport scheme in no way confers a continuing right to these facilities. Accordingly, the relevant families were advised in March 1998, that free transport could not be offered beyond the Easter term, 1998.

While I regret my Department is not in a position to allow free transport in this instance, it is open to the families in question to apply for concessionary fare-paying transport, at a cost of £19 per pupil, per term.