School bus ap­peal for boy with spe­cial needs

Fingal Independent - - NEWS - BY KEN PHE­LAN

A Bal­brig­gan fa­ther is fight­ing for school trans­port for his eight-yearold son, who has spe­cial needs, to the near­est suit­able pri­mary school, in Port­marnock. Paul Mcma­hon said he was told the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and Bus Eire­ann would ar­range trans­port for his son, David, who trav­els to the Port­marnock school from his home in Castle­lands, Bal­brig­gan.

Ac­cord­ing to Paul, he was told this ser­vice would be in place by the start of this school term.

David, who’s in se­cond class, at­tends St. Marnock’s NS, Port­marnock, the clos­est school to Bal­brig­gan that caters for his spe­cial needs, ac­cord­ing to his dad.

Cur­rently, Paul, who is un­em­ployed, drives David to Port­marnock and back each day, a 70 mile round trip which, he said, is plac­ing the fam­ily un­der un­due fi­nan­cial pres­sure.

Ac­cord­ing to Paul, de­spite hav­ing sent in all the ap­pro­pri­ate pa­per­work, nei­ther Bus Eire­ann or the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion have been in touch to up­date them on the sit­u­a­tion.

He said ‘We filled in all the rel­e­vant pa­per­work, and the school sent it in to Bus Eire­ann.’

But the trans­port has never ma­te­ri­alised for the eight-year-old with spe­cial needs and Paul has heard noth­ing from the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion.

He said: ‘We con­tacted the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and were told the doc­u­ments were sent to Bus Eire­ann, and that we’d have to con­tact them. When we rang Bus Eire­ann, we were told that they only had a cer­tain amount of time to do pa­per­work, and that it hadn’t been looked at yet. No-one is telling me any­thing – noth­ing.’

Ac­cord­ing to Paul, there are two other chil­dren from Bal­brig­gan, and one child from Don­abate, who are in need of the ser­vice. All four chil­dren are cur­rently re­ly­ing on par­ents to take them to and from school, he said.

When con­tacted, Dar­ragh O’brien TD (FF), who was aware of the is­sue said: ‘I’ve been rais­ing it with Gov­ern­ment and with the Min­is­ter. I put down par­lia­men­tary ques­tions and had an­other ques­tion put down this week.’

He added: ‘I got an an­swer back two weeks ago to say it was re­solved, but ob­vi­ously it wasn’t.

‘John Hal­li­gan is the Min­is­ter with re­spon­si­bil­ity, I’ve also writ­ten to Min­is­ter Bru­ton as well, and I’m go­ing to keep push­ing it.

‘We will get it re­solved, but it’s ridicu­lous it’s taken this amount of time’, he said.

The Min­is­ter’s re­sponse to the par­lia­men­tary ques­tion posed on Septem­ber 18 2018 in Dáil Éire­ann read: ‘A school trans­port ser­vice has been sanc­tioned to cater for the chil­dren re­ferred to by the Deputy and Bus Éire­ann will be in con­tact with the fam­i­lies to in­form them of ar­range­ments.’

De­spite this re­sponse, Paul and his fam­ily are still in the dark and there is still no school bus pulling up out­side the house to take David to the school that can cater for his par­tic­u­lar set of spe­cial needs.

Paul Mcma­hon and his son, David who has spe­cial needs, cam­paign­ing for school trans­port.

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