Dáil Éireann - Volume 493 - 01 July, 1998

Written Answers. - School Transport.

190. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Science if, further to Parliamentary Question No. 209 of 22 April 1998, he has further evaluated the circumstances regarding the provision of free school transport for persons (details supplied) in County Kildare from Clonfert, Maynooth, to Hewetsons Church of Ireland national school in Clane, with a view to restoring the service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16521/98]

Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): As explained in Parliamentary Question No. 209 on 29 April 1998, the children to whom the Deputy refers are not attending their nearest national school. They are attending and availing of school transport to a school further away.

The families in question were granted free transport under the scheme on the understanding that they were attending their nearest suitable school. However, it 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.

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