'This is cruelty': Councillors angry at 'abominable' lack of school buses

At a meeting in County Hall, many of the 55 councillors gave examples of problems in their various areas. They have decided to write a “strongly-worded” email to John Halligan, junior minister at the Department of Education & Skills, urging him to get more and bigger buses to solve the issue.

'This is cruelty': Councillors angry at 'abominable' lack of school buses

Cork county councillors have expressed anger at the large number of children who've been left stranded around the county because of inadequate school transport.

They described the situation as “upsetting”, “abominable”, and “another attack on rural Ireland.”

At a meeting in County Hall, many of the 55 councillors gave examples of problems in their various areas. They have decided to write a “strongly-worded” email to John Halligan, junior minister at the Department of Education & Skills, urging him to get more and bigger buses to solve the issue.

“What's going on is bordering on ludicrous. Children who have been on the bus for three years are now told they can't get on it,” Cllr Joe Carroll said adding he knew of one mother from the Ballineen/Enniskeane area who had to give up her job as a result of this and others who were trying to car-pool.

This is cruelty. I've had phone calls from children who were crying,” he said. “It's another attack on rural Ireland.

Cllr Frank O'Flynn said there hadn't been a day in recent weeks when he didn't get 10 or 20 phone calls. “I've never seen so many parents so upset, especially in places like Araglin, Kilworth, Castlelyons," he said. “There were 15 kids from Rathcormac who couldn't get a bus last week. The minister's silence is deafening. There's not a single squeak out of him. The answer is very simple, increase the size of the buses.”

Cllr Gearoid Murphy said the problem had been building for years, but this year is the worst by far.

Just from an environmental perspective it would be better to have buses going to schools instead of 20 or 30 cars

Cllr Danny Collins said there were similar problems in the Beara peninsula and the Bantry area.

“One bus company in West Cork put on a bigger bus at no extra charge,” he said. “But there are children being left crying on the side of the street and that's abominable.”

Cllr Ben Dalton O'Sullivan said eight families in the Ballygarvan area were told they were no longer getting school transport.

Midleton-based Cllr Danielle Twomey said she knew of students in their Leaving Cert year who'd been denied bus travel, which added stress they didn't need at such an important time of their lives.

Mayor of County Cork, Cllr Christopher O'Sullivan, said in Ballineen/Enniskeane 18 students had been denied bus travel. He said he emailed Mr Halligan's office two weeks ago and was still awaiting a proper response, which he was annoyed about.

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