Refusal to grant school transport to boy with special needs challenged

Refusal to grant school transport to boy with special needs challenged

The court heard that the boy has been diagnosed as suffering from autism. File image

A High Court challenge has been brought against the State's refusal to provide school transport to a schoolboy with special needs.

The child, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, lives in a rural area with his family.

The court heard that the boy has been diagnosed as suffering from autism.

Following consultation with the minister for education, healthcare and educational professionals determined that the boy should attend a primary school, which was not the nearest national school to where they live.

While not being the most convenient, the school where the boy should attend, the court heard, was found to be the most suitable to cater for his individual needs.

An application that the boy be provided with school transport was made to the minister, which the court heard was disallowed because the school was not the nearest school to the boy's home.

This decision, it is argued, failed to take into account the boy's needs. The decision was appealed.

However, in a decision made last July the appeal was dismissed, and the boy's lawyers argue that no reasons were given by the appeal board.

As a result, the boy, represented in court by Derek Shortall Bl, has brought judicial review proceedings against the National Council for Special Education, the minister for education and skills, and the School Transport Appeals Board.

In the action, the boy seeks an order quashing the refusal by the appeals board disallowing his appeal.

He further seeks declarations from the court including that the failure to give reasons for the decision is contrary to fair procedures and constitutional justice.

The boy further seeks an order remitting the matter back to the minister for reconsideration.

Permission to bring the action was granted, on an ex-parte basis, by Mr Justice Charles Meenan. The judge made the matter returnable to a date in November.

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