Brian Stanley TD wants larger buses to accommodate demand.
At least 12 families in the Vicarstown/Emo area will be unable to avail of bus services to send their children to secondary school in Portlaoise, prompting calls from Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley for the Department of Education to provide a larger bus.
“I know of 12 families who have been told that there are no places on school buses to Portlaoise from September. They are being told to attend schools in Athy or Monasterevin in order to avail of school transport. Stradbally and Emo were traditionally feeder schools for Portlaoise Secondary Schools,” said Deputy Stanley.
“One girl going into 5th year in Scoil Chríost Rí, Portlaoise and who had transport throughout her time in the school is now told it is no longer available to her.”
He said that St Paul’s Secondary School in Monasterevin is at full capacity and each year they have added prefab buildings to cope. They are currently waiting on a new school to be built. Athy is also full to capacity and is not accepting pupils from the Vicarstown area. Currently there is no bus service to Monasterevin and the Department would need to provide a new service on this route.
“All the parents in these cases are working and are unable to do school runs and they have the support of the principal and deputy principal in Scoil Chríost Rí,” continued Deputy Stanley.
“To compound the problem they are only discovering a few weeks before schools re-open that they have no school transport. There was a 52 seater bus on the Vicarstown-Emo-Portlaoise route previously and the sensible solution would be to provide a 52 seater again instead of the 33 seater bus now in place.”
He said there is a greater demand for school bus places due to the huge population increase in the county in recent years, and stated it would be a lot more cost effective to provide a larger bus to Portlaoise than to start a new extra service to Monasterevin.
Deputy Stanley concluded: “I have written to Minister Halligan seeking a meeting to discuss a resolution to the problem. What is needed now is some flexibility and a bit of common sense and I’m waiting on a response from the Minister on this.”