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24 Sept 2022

'Refused' Laois parents meet to demand urgent Bus Eireann schoolbus

'Refused' Laois parents meet to demand urgent Bus Eireann schoolbus

'Refused' Laois parents meet to demand urgent Bus Eireann schoolbus

Some 30 Laois families are in need of a school bus service to be provided urgently to a local secondary school.

Children who attended two "feeder" national schools to Mountmellick Community School, have been "refused" a bus service, despite it being provided in the past.

A group of Emo parents is claiming that Bus Éireann's location maps and guidelines are wrong, and the children should qualify. Their homes are showing on the company's map that their nearest schools are Monasterevin or Portlaoise, both 12 km away, despite Mountmellick being 9km from Emo. 

The group say that they reach above the minimum number of students required to put on a bus.

They have called an urgent meeting in Emo, for parents of students from the Emo and Rock areas who are attending the Mountmellick secondary school.

A spokesperson told the Leinster Express about their predicament.

"At almost two weeks out from school returning and pupils from the Emo and The Rock areas who are attending Mountmellick Community Secondary School - still have no school bus. Emo National School & The Rock NS are feeder schools to Mountmellick Community Secondary School.

"The current Bus Eireann location and feeder school guidelines are completely inaccurate. As a result, all school transport applications (for commencement this September) to Bus Eireann from families in Emo were refused (over 10 new families).

"Immediate efforts are needed to change this situation around for these and future families," they said.

The group say that there are 30 families between Emo and The Rock travelling unnecessarily to Mountmellick Community School and they need a school bus service.

They say that local county councillors and in particular, Seán Fleming, Fianna Fail TD, are assisting them with their campaign.

A meeting will take place on Wednesday evening August 17 at 9:30pm at the Old School in Emo. All interested parents are invited along.

Laois County Council had already contacted Bus Eireann to seek additional school bus routes,  to cut the number of cars on school runs. 

It is on the back of a motion tabled by Cllr PJ Kelly to the June meeting of Laois County Council.

He asked “where possible, to make a school bus service available to all schools in Laois, as this would help ease the extra burden of costs on families and would also reduce the amount of cars doing extra school runs”.

“I know most of the schools would have a service provided but I have a case in Emo Village. They are looking for a service from there to Mountmellick,” he said. 

Cllr Kelly said there is no service there at the moment and the cost privately is €16 each day for a round trip. 

“It’s a huge cost,” he told the meeting of Laois County Council.   He said it was one of the areas where he hopes that some service will be provided.  

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