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WHEELY DAFT; Red tape means family's 3 kids can't get same bus to school.


A FAMILY has been banned from sending its three children to school on the same bus - because of a 50-year-old rule.

Olivia Rabbitte, who is 17 and is studying for her Leaving Cert, has been allowed on the service from Clonberne, Co Galway.

But her brothers Connor, 15, and 13-year-old Adrian cannot take use the same bus.

Mum Breege said: "It is a ludicrous situation.

"What makes it even more crazy is the fact that one of my boys, Connor, who had a bus ticket to the school last year was refused this time when he started second year this week."

More than 10 kids from the Clonberne area who attend Holy Rosary College in Mountbellew, Co Galway, cannot use the bus to take them there.

The school is powerless to do anything about it.

Outdated catchment area boundaries still imposed by the Education Department decide who gets transport tickets and what areas they must go to school in to avail of the service.

Parents of the group of children have been told they will not get transport as the bus to Mountbellew is at capacity and because of catchment area restrictions.

But a spokeswoman for Co Galway VEC, which is the school transport liaison group for all colleges in the county, said it is only enacting Education Department's in issuing school transport tickets.

She added: "Children are entitled to transport to schools in their catchment area and in this case the catchment area is Tuam."

The spokeswoman said Bus Eireann only obliged Olivia when they prioritised her situation.

Breege added if they take their kids to the bus stop for Tuam catchment schools they drive past the Mountbellew bus stop en route.

They also paid for the bus tickets for their three kids within days of getting the invoice earlier this summer.

She added that when husband PJ contacted Bus Eireann he was treated courteously but was told it was up to the Education Department to change the system.

Fine Gael Galway East TD Paul Connaughton said the catchment area system needs to be reviewed, branding it "utterly daft".

A Bus Eireann spokesman said if a pupil wants to travel on a school bus to a college outside the catchment area there is no obligation on the Education Department to provide such transport.

He added: "But if seats are available and if the pupil goes to the other catchment area bus stop then transport, if available, can be provided strictly on a term by term basis."

"In such situations priority is usually given to children in exam classes and then down the line to those in the more senior classes."


ROUTE OF THE PROBLEM: Olivia Rabbitte says goodbye to her brothers Connor and Adrian yesterday Picture: RAY RYAN; CLASSES: Holy Rosary College in Mountbellow; OVERHAUL CALL: TD Connaughton
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 6, 2007
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