Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sinn Féin demand reversal of decision to withdraw concessionary transport for rural schools

23 April, 2005

Cllr Seán Clarke and Cllr Jarlath Mc Nulty, the Sinn Féin Chairs of Omagh and Strabane District Councils, will be joined by fellow councillors Claire Mc Gill and Barry Mc Elduff MLA to a meeting with Barry Mulholland the Chief Executive Western Education and Library Board on Monday morning to demand that the Board reverse its shock decision to withdraw concessionary transport to children attending many rural schools throughout the Western Board Area.

The Western Board has informed parents that concessionary places for their children are no longer available on routes which they do not deem viable i.e. Where the majority of places on the bus are taken up by concessionary places.

However, the Sinn Féin representatives determined to fight this decision saying,

"The impact of Western Board decision, if it is allowed to proceed, would be devastating not only for the many families concerned but also for the future viability of many rural primary and secondary schools, not to mention the severe repercussions this would have for the cohesion of entire rural communities.

"The savings that the Western Board would make in cutting off concessionary transport to rural schools is minimal but the educational, social and economic costs to many rural communities would be catastrophic.

"Given that this decision has been relayed to parents and schools without any consultation whatsoever, we will be seeking legal advice on the legality of the Western Board's out of the blue decision.

"In our meeting with the WELB Chief Executive Barry Mulholland on Monday we will be demanding that the implementation of this decision be halted and questioning as to whether an "Equality Impact Assessment" has been carried out on this policy change and as to whether this abrupt policy change has been Rural Proofed. THE END

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