PROGRESS has been made in the dispute over school transport at St Mary’s Brollagh with some of the students who had been denied bus passes having them reinstated.
Over a dozen students from St Mary’s High School, Brollagh had previously been told they are not eligible for free bus transport from the Education Authority and letters were sent stating that the bus route had been reorganised due to ‘operational reasons’ and children who live within three miles from the school are not eligible for free transport.
In a protest against the decision, up to 45 parents and children walked a 2km stretch on the B52 road from Belleek to the school at 8.30am to highlight the dangers of walking on the road.
Now, more than six weeks into the school year, some of the students’ bus passes have been re-instated meaning they can now avail of the bus service.
Jane Weir, pictured below, chairman of the Parents Council, told the Herald about the good news, but insists that other students are still missing out.
“Some of the students have received their bus passes, and there are probably about five students left who haven’t. Some of them have not been given them at all because they are first years, while others who have had bus passes who haven’t had them back.
“We are pushing the Education Authority to assess the route because we have had the report from the PSNI and the Department of Infrastructure. We are saying that the children should have mandatory or full bus passes because of the unsafe route. It is still disgraceful that there are still students without transport six weeks into the school term,” added Ms Weir.
The EA are still to carry out an assessment but the PSNI along with the Department of Infrastructure carried out an assessment of the route and have found that the road is ‘hazardous to pedestrians.’
The report detailed that ‘in the interests of road safety, it would be concerning if this road was deemed suitable as a safe route for pedestrians, particularly when such vulnerable road users are schoolchildren. The dark winter days would be particularly hazardous to pedestrians.’
A spokesman for the EA said, “The position remains the same. We have not concluded our assessments. EA will update all interested parties once the assessment has been completed.”
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