TD hits out at school transport ‘chaos’

North Cork TD Seán Sherlock has said that Fianna Fáil TDs need to exercise their influence with the Minister for Education to fix the school transport chaos and put on more buses. The TD’s comments follow reports of pupils across North Cork and all over the country being left without places on school buses after the suspension of fees for the 2022/2023 school year. Free school transport was announced as part of a package to tackle cost of living pressures, but the system has been unable to cope with the increasing number of families hoping to avail of spaces.
“I don’t understand why Fianna Fáil backbenchers have been so silent on this issue, they need to cop themselves on,” said Deputy Sherlock.
“I’m not sure if the Minister fully realises the effects of this policy. All the Minister has to do here is to sit down with the bus operators and tell us what that conversation entails when she does sit down with them and look at the capacity issue.”
He went on, “Families have been forced to arrange a private bus because of the failure of the Government to provide updates on school transport. The Fianna Fáil Minister for Education has opened up a scheme that was not fit for purpose before this, and made it Darwinian insofar that, if you get a seat, you’re lucky. If you don’t, well, tough.
“The school transport scheme is not fit for purpose anymore. It hasn’t been for a long time. The idea that somebody over the age of 70 is unable to drive a school bus in this day and age is completely anachronistic for the times we live in. It’s unfair to those people, and there are many people who are solid people who will be more than willing to step up to the mark, because the hours would be suitable for them.”