Members of Donegal Electoral Area Committee expressed their dissatisfaction with Bus Eireann’s provision of school transport services on some routes.
Councillors said parents had contacted them with fears that some bus routes in Pettigo, Ballintra and Ballyshannon areas may be curtailed or withdrawn. Parents had been told, the councillors said, that schools buses would not be allowed travel outside the 26 counties, and this would affect students living in border towns.
The monthly meeting of the Committee heard that, although a representative from the company had been asked to attend the meeting to clarify the situation, a letter had been received saying the official was “not in a position” to do so. The company requested that any concerns be expressed in writing and undertook to respond to those concerns in writing.
Cllr. Barry O’Neill (FG) said he thought it was “poor form” that the company did not send someone to the meeting.
He added: “Bus Eireann has engaged with no one. There are issues all over the place, especially in Pettigo and in Finn Valley, but no one has come to meet the council or the VEC and we’re being left with it.
“We’re finishing up the school year in two weeks time and it would have been timely for Bus Eireann to come here when requested by all the members. It’s very disappointing that we have to write and write and write and we can’t sit down and have a conversation. I think the company should reconsider.”
Cllr. Mick McMahon (SF) noted: “It’s important with closure of Brollagh school in Belleek that we look at the cross-border dimension, because pupils will be coming into Ballyshannon. The Dept. of Education and Dept. of Transport should be brought in to help plan for this.”
Cllr. John Campbell (Ind) agreed. “Students from certain townlands in Pettigo already have to cross the border to get to Ballyshannon, so to say that a bus route must stay in the 26 counties doesn’t apply in this case.
Committee Chairperson Cllr. John Boyle (FG) pointed out that the letter to Bus Eireann had only been sent after a workshop of May 1, “so it was very short notice”.
Members agreed that a letter be sent to Bus Eireann expressing their disappointment that an official did not attend this meeting and requesting a meeting “at a time and place convenient to Bus Eireann”.