Lack of school bus service for Pallaskenry students raised in Dáil

Limerick Green Party TD Brian Leddin

THE PLIGHT of families and children attending the Salesians Secondary College in Pallaskenry was raised in the Dáil by Limerick Green Party TD Brian Leddin.

Deputy Leddin brought the matter before the house to highlight the fact that, six months into the school year, pupils at the County Limerick secondary school “are being driven to school and back by parents, grandparents, and neighbours while there are empty buses passing them.”

Deputy Leddin said that the problem is that a bus service that had historically served the needs of the pupils had been discontinued by the company providing it.

He said the lack of a school bus service is causing huge disruption and hardship for families and for the pupils at school itself.

“The school has an excellent track record in sustainability generally,” Deputy Leddin told the Dáil chamber.

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“They have even formed their own committee on the issue, chaired by a pupil, Shane Fitzgerald. To their credit, they are not being selfish in highlighting, they want it put out there that this is a problem countrywide.”

Deputy Leddin went on to say that at the root of the problem in Pallaskenry and other areas are “multiple transport systems that are not integrated.

“There are empty buses passing the children who are being driven to school and they can’t use those buses. When there are bus services, staff and teachers can’t use them.

He called for school bus transport “to be taken out of the Department of Education and put where it belongs (in the Department of Transport) so that it can be co-ordinated properly”.

Minister of State Joe O’Brien outlined how €382million was spent on school transport in 2023.

He said that Bus Éireann, the body responsible for organising the scheme on behalf of the Department, “has confirmed that the service for Pallaskenry has not commenced” and that this is due to a shortage of drivers.

“The company is actively seeking to establish this service,” he added.