30 Nov 2021

Laois students will be left stranded on Tuesday morning with lack of school bus service

Parents in the area are holding a meeting to discuss their options

Laois students will be left stranded on Tuesday morning with lack of school bus service

Thirteen children will be left standing on the side of the road when they are due go back to school on Tuesday in the Vicarstown and Emo areas if the bus service does not change in the meantime.

The current public bus service is not catering for the number of students that need to get the bus to school in the area.

There are currently 13 families in the communities of Vicarstown, Emo and surrounding areas that have not been granted tickets for the bus to and from Portlaoise Secondary Schools.

Parents in the area are holding a meeting tonight Thursday, August 24 to discuss their options ahead of the new school term beginning next week.

In 2009, Bus Eireann cut the service from a 52 seater bus to a 32 seater because the numbers were not there however, eight years on the number of students has changed.

The meeting of parents this evening has received local political backing as a representative for Charlie Flanagan will be in attendance along with local TD's Brian Stanley and Sean Fleming.

Yvonne Kelly has six children, four of them have been through secondary schools in Portlaoise and one is currently 14 years-old and attending Portlaoise College.

Yvonne’s son was not granted a ticket for the bus this year after her other four children got the bus for years.

“We have all rang Bus Éireann and begged them to get ‘my boy’ and ‘my girl’ onto the bus.

“I know another mother whose daughter did not get a ticket and my heart breaks for her. Her daughter is starting first year and this situation has taken all of the good out of her starting school.

“My nearest school is Athy by 0.02km, but Athy had no availability. All my children went to Portlaoise and my priority is to get my child a place in school. He didn’t get a place in the first two secondary schools I tried so I took the third option. I was very grateful to Portaoise College for taking Tiernan on.

“Some of the parents who missed out on a bus ticket cannot dedicate themselves to school runs. There are families leaving to go to work at 7.30am so children would be dropped to school hours before the classes start and wouldn’t be picked up till late in the evenings.

“It is ridiculous in this day and age. There will be 13 children with no lift to school on Tuesday, the bus service will pass them by.

“If I change school to Athy there is no bus going past my door, there is one going to Portlaoise,” Yvonne said.

Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley has called on the Department of Education to provide a larger bus to cater for students in the Vicarstown/Emo areas to attend secondary schools in Portlaoise.

Deputy Stanley has made this announcement ahead of the meeting which he will attend this evening.

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.

“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 32 seater bus now in place," he said.

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