SEAN Fleming TD has slammed the Minister of State, Ciaran Cannon TD for the new school transport regulations which mean that there will no longer be an entitlement to school transport for people in areas where families have traditionally gone to their local secondary schools.
“Minister Ciaran Cannon TD was very blunt in telling the parents from Raheen that those 16 students who were allowed onto the school bus to Heywood this year on a concessionary basis cannot be guaranteed this is future years,” Dep Fleming said. “This is a dreadful situation and the Minister is indicating that in the future people in these areas should be going to the schools in Portlaoise.”
The Minister also had similar bad news for people from The Swan who have gone to Heywood since it opened as a day school over 40 years ago, telling them they should instead go to the school in Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny. Dep Fleming said he had ignored all reasonable arguments put forward by the parents and Laois public representatives to let common sense prevail in relation to Raheen and The Swan.
“It has become clear that there is only a small handful of problems like The Swan and Raheen areas in the entire country and if there is any remote willingness to let common sense prevail these problems could be resolved. The Minister has also made it clear that he does not want to make exceptions no matter how deserving the cases are. He said he would have the distances re-measured to verify the matter but held out no great hope for the future.”
Dep Fleming said people were dissatisfied that the Minister appeared to have his mind made up before any meetings were held.
Dep Fleming said that this disappointing news from the Minister cannot be taken lying down and the parents involved will have to consider what alternative is now available in relation to getting common sense to prevail in this situation.