Delay to school bus safety unacceptable says Crowe
Sinn Féin Education and Transport spokesperson Seán Crowe TD has described Minister for Education Mary Hanafin's announcement today that school buses will not be fitted with seat belts until the end of 2006 as "unacceptable". Deputy Crowe questioned the Minister's assertion that these measures could not be implemented any faster and said she "must rethink her position and undertake to have the work completed as quickly as possible so that no more children are put at risk when travelling to and from school."
Deputy Crowe said: "The announcement today by Minister Hanafin that it will not be until the end of 2006 that all school buses are fitted with safety belts, and that the children who use them will continue three to two seats until this time is a disgrace. The fact that the lack of seatbelts was a major factor in the deaths and injuries resulting from the Meath bus crash two months ago, combined with the now emerging details that the driver was within the speed limit, but that the anti lock brakes were not working properly, makes this mornings announcement unacceptable.
"It seems to be emerging that technical problems combined with a lack of adequate safety measures were at fault for the Meath bus crash yet it is going to be a year and a half before the Minister gets round to remedying it. That really is shameful and unacceptable.
"There doesn‚t seem to be any urgency in the Ministers response to this crisis. I would question the Ministers claim that these measures cannot be implemented any faster. If the political will existed to deal with this crisis the money would be found and the problem dealt with. Minister must rethink her position and undertake to have the work completed as quickly as possible so that no more children are put at risk when travelling to and from school." ENDS