School transport should be a right, not a concession

Leitrim Observer reporter

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School transport should be a right, not a concession

Deputy Martin Kenny

Speaking in his constituency today, Sinn Féin TD for Sligo, Leitrim, North Roscommon and South Donegal Martin Kenny said that school transport means access to education and should be a right, not something conceded, to school pupils.

Deputy Kenny said: “As parents face the closing date for payment for school transport this week, it brings into focus the many problems around access to education in this state.

“Rural parents are faced, every September, with the chaos of the school transport system and the fact that, thanks to Fianna Fáil, in the person of the minister in 2011, Mary Coughlan, who introduced the nearest school rule and made the provision of transport a “concession”, and not a right, to a vital public service.

“There are parents who have had to give up work in order to ensure that their children can attend school because of the inadequacy of the school transport service. Provision of services to those with medical cards just does not cut it because so many do not have a medical card.

“The other children, whose parents are trying to juggle their own working hours, school hours, location of the workplace and the school and childcare arrangements, are being failed by the state.

“Education is a right not a privilege and providing access to the school is part and parcel of that right and people should be able to expect it.”