Fr Vincent Connaughton has said he remains hopeful common sense will prevail in relation to the retention of a bus service for Ardvarney NS.
Fr Connaughton, who is Chairperson of the school’s Board of Management was speaking after a silent protest was staged in Sligo last Friday afternoon.
Speaking to the Leitrim Observer, Fr Connaughton said there was almost a full compliment of parents participating in the protest as a group of 50 handed in a petition with 1,000 signatures to Bus Eireann.
The group then marched to the Sinn Fein office where the petition was handed in to Deputy Michael Colreavy’s office and similarly the group marched to Deputy McLoughlin’s office and again the petition was handed in.
Fr Connaughton explained the office of Deputy John Perry, Minister for Minister of State for Small Business was closed when the group attempted to hand in the petition. However, Deputy Perry later met with the group, with Fr Connaughton saying the meeting went, “very well.”
Explaining the difficulty faced by the school and the parents of the children who are in danger of being without a bus service from September Fr Connaughton said, “It is all about retaining a bus service for the 13 pupils.
“ We meet the criteria for the following year but not for the next year. The criteria is based on projections of how many pupils will be in the school and how many are currently on the roll.”
Outlining the difficulties that could be experienced if one of the two Ardvarney school buses is not reinstated for the new school year, Fr Connaughton said, “Some parents work every morning and they might have to think of other arrangements (if it is not resolved).”
Despite the concern regarding the future of the bus Fr Connaughton remains upbeat and optimistic and stressed there is no threat to the future of Ardvarney NS.
“The school is under no danger of closure,” he emphasised, adding, “I am always very hopeful for a positive outcome. I hope common sense will prevail.”
Fr Connaughton expressed his gratitude to those who have helped with the campaign to maintain the bus service saying, “I would like to say thanks, on behalf of the Board of Management to the politicians and the media. We are very grateful for the publicity.”