Dáil Éireann - Volume 502 - 23 March, 1999

Written Answers. - School Bus Escort Service.

76. Mr. Boylan asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason he has not replied to representations from Deputy Boylan on behalf of persons (details supplied) in County Cavan in respect of their son who is handicapped and attending the Holy Family school, Cootehill; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there is no supervision on the bus which travels to this special school; the provisions, if any, he has made for the employment of a supervisor; and his views on whether it is unfair that the bus driver should also be the supervisor. [4072/99]

Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): I am aware of the case in question and I would ask the Deputy to accept my apology for not communicating with him earlier on this matter.

In mitigation, I would like to explain that a number of representations seeking escorts on special school transport services, including the Deputy's representation, were being held in my Department pending an expected important development in this area.

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that such a development has since taken place with the recent allocation of £3.4 million for the introduction of an escort service on all special school transport buses.

My Department is currently making the necessary arrangements to put escorts in place on the services in question and I can assure the Deputy that the service with which he is concerned will be included in this allocation. I expect that the process of allocating funding to schools, including Holy Family school, to facilitate the employment of escorts will commence very shortly.