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Written Answers. - School Transport.

Tuesday, 8 October 1996

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 469 No. 5

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 140. Mr. Deasy Information on Austin Deasy Zoom on Austin Deasy  asked the Minister for Education Information on Niamh Bhreathnach Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach  if she will provide alternative arrangements for children with special needs in the Dungarvan area, County Waterford, who cannot take up places provided for them in the Presentation primary school, Clonmel, County Tipperary, due to the lack of suitable transport; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17623/96]

Minister for Education (Ms Bhreathnach): Information on Niamh Bhreathnach Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach I am aware of the case referred to by the Deputy. My Department is currently engaged in urgent efforts to put suitable transport arrangements in place for the children in question.

[1542] My Department makes every effort to provide school transport for children attending special schools and classes on either scheduled or special services. However, in some instances this is simply not feasible due to particular circumstances such as excessive cost, too long a distance, or the inability of a child to avail of a service because of the nature of the disability. In such cases my Department offers a grant to the parents to help defray the cost of private transport arrangements. The amount payable depends on the distance involved and the level of attendance of the pupil.

The children in question have been enrolled at a special class for pupils with speech and language disorder which has been established at the school mentioned by the Deputy. A total of eight children have enrolled in this class.

Because of the dispersed locations of the children in relation to the special class, it has not proved possible to arrange a transport service to the class. Neither have the children's parents found it possible to make alternative arrangements within the limits of the grant assistance offered in this case.

In view of these developments and in order to facilitate the children in question, my Department is urgently examining ways of overcoming the present difficulty. I hope a satisfactory solution can be devised in the near future.

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