I don’t know when he was last in rural Ireland but I’d wager he doesn’t know that parents pay for school transport and under his government the cost has just gone up to €350 per child per annum and even then you’re not guaranteed you’ll get a seat. Poor Deputy Andrews, he knows the price of everything but the value of nothing. If Aer Lingus accepted payment of Deputy Andrews for a ticket and later told him that he couldn’t fly because some one else was allocated his seat he’d be furious and he’d be off to the National Consumer Agency. Of course this cannot happen to adults but it does happen each year to children trying to go to school using school transport.
If your child has a special physical need in Co Wexford you have to travel. In the case of some pupils in Wexford town they must get a bus to Enniscorthy. That also means a voluntary helper must accompany. I know one such woman who spent much of her day sitting in a minibus driving the back roads of South Wexford lifting children on and off a school bus. I’ve met mothers who complain to me how little help they get from the state. I wish some of these women could meet Chris Andrews TD and if they could I don’t think he’d come out with such nonsense. Many parents in north Wexford commute to Dublin and rely on the school bus to bring their children to and from school. Many parents are not home till 7PM, I’ve been on the N11 at 6.30 and it is a constant stream out of Gorey. School buses are essential for children to go to and from school when parents go to or are at work.School transport was introduced alongside free second level education in the 1960’s. It was brought in so that distance from schools would not be a disadvantage for rural families. I wonder do FF backbenchers understand anymore what disadvantage is? 2 months ago they removed book subsidies from most parents, because few schools are categorised as disadvantaged in Co Wexford. Resource teachers are now to be cut money for resources and I could go on.
School transport is good value for money, if Deputy Andrews wants to save cash why not cut back on some of the Ministers for State and their entourage. Why is it that years after millions being shelled out for smart ticketing, Dublin is no closer the integration of transport tickets let alone the Luas lines that incidentally give no reduction for school children? I wish I had as understanding an electorate in Co Wexford as Deputy Andrews obviously has in South East Dublin, Just think of all the half baked notions that I could indulge myself in. Now there’s a thought!