IFA Farm Family + Social Affairs Chairman Margaret Healy said that farm families were angered by the Government’s decision to introduce significant charges and route cutbacks in the school transport from this September.
“The introduction of public school transport charges of up to €110 per family for primary school and €650 for secondary school are not sustainable for many farm families,” said Mrs. Healy. “It is another escalating public cost for families with children when the Government should be driving down costs.”
Margaret Healy said, “Rural families cannot understand how the cost of school transport has trebled, while student numbers using it have fallen by over 30,000. The administration and management of the system must be questioned. Local communities must be given the opportunity to manage their own transport, which could bring about significant savings and retention of routes.”
She said that due to route cutbacks and the re-alignment of route boundaries in certain cases, rural families will no longer be able to send their children to the same school as their siblings, even though that will now be charged for the service. This must be addressed urgently.