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Hardship from school transport charges

Martin Ferris (SF, Kerry N) raised the hardship likely to result from changes in the rules on school transport due to come in this autumn (Dail Eireann, Debates, 31st May 2011, 709-711).  The new rules introduced a charge of €50 a child, removal of eligibility for children within 3.2km and a minimum of ten children to be transported.  Martin Ferris described the changes as a breach of commitments given when schools were amalgamated 30 years ago.  Responding for the government, the Minister of state at the Department of Education & Skills, Ciaran Cannon, told him that children with a medical card were exempt, there was a maximum charge of €110 per family and compared favourably to private school transport charges.