School transport chaos will continue if Bus Éireann fails to seek additional capacity - Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD, has once again called for Minister Foley to come out of hiding and solve the school transport shortage chaos, which is affecting families across the state.
Teachta Ó Laoghaire said:
“Yesterday Minister Foley refused a request to appear before the Oireachtas Education Committee in order to solve the school transport shortage chaos.
“Now we are informed by Bus Éireann, in at least one area, that 'additional capacity is not being sought for concessionary pupils who did not secure tickets for the 22/23 school year'.
“So that’s it? If this is the position across the state, Bus Éireann, and by extension the Minister and the Government have no desire in seeking additional capacity.
"Simply, hoping that parents just get on with it and this all blows over. Families are being left high and dry without school transport because of the incompetence of this Government and parents are expected to clean up the Government’s mess on their own.
“All the while Minister Foley is in hiding from a disaster of her own making, refusing to attend the education Committee despite being offered no less than 5 possible dates to appear.
“Her decision shows a lack of respect for these families left stranded without school transport.
“School transport chaos is the new normal for so many families due to government incompetence. In the midst of a cost of living crisis, we have this crazy situation where there are now parents across the country faced with the reality of giving up work because of this mess.
“This is completely unacceptable and the silence from Minister Foley is damning.
“Bus Éireann have said that many applications that were received since the reopening of the portal on 25th August will be processed over the coming weeks but 'many may not be issued with a ticket as many buses are now operating at capacity'.
“The Minister should have anticipated that there would be increased demand.
"The solution to this is simple. She should have worked with Bus Éireann to find additional capacity to meet this demand. Sinn Féin has repeatedly called for 10,000 additional places on School Bus Transport.
“Sinn Féin will continue to fight for the rights of children to get a place on their school bus. We will not allow the Government to hide from a disaster of their own making."