School transport in Limerick in ‘dire need of reform’

Labour Party Councillor Conor Sheehan

THE school transport system in Limerick is “patched up with sticking plasters” and “in dire need of reform”, according to one local councillor.

Hitting out at the current conditions of school bus facilitation in Limerick, as well as the system that allocates which child does or does not get a place on the bus, local Labour Party councillor Conor Sheehan lambasted the “annual scramble for tickets” which left many families in the lurch as the new school year began in September.

This comes as Cllr Sheehan welcomed the news from Bus Éireann that three new school buses are to be provided from next week (November 13) for children attending the Limerick Educate Together Secondary School who qualified for a place but were without school transport since the start of the school year, but called out for more to be done to avoid the same anxiety for schoolchildren next year.

“I have been raising this issue since September and brought a motion to the Council calling on the Minister for Educate to intervene to ensure that these children could get a place on school transport, a place that they were eligible for,” Cllr Sheehan said.

“I am glad after months of wrangling that this issue has been resolved for parents in Corbally and Caherdavin, who in some instances were having to pay for taxis for their children to get to school.

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“However, the fact is that the entire school transport system is completely unfit for purpose and needs to be reformed.

“The Minister for Education, Norma Foley, constantly reiterates that it is a demand-led system. That in itself shows it is plannable year to year. If you want a seat, and you pay for a seat, you should get a seat. Yet, year after year we have the same debacle.

“The school transport system has been broken for a number of years, patched up with sticking plasters by various ministers. The annual scramble for tickets, based off a concessionary model, is outdated and inequitable and needs to be overhauled.”