Parents in a rural South Sligo community say they are only starting what they promise will be a vigorous campaign to retain a 40-year old school bus service in their area.
They were among about 50 people who gathered in Bunninadden Community Centre last night to highlight their concerns over the future of the Bus Eireann service to St Attracta’s Community School in Tubbercurry.
Bunninadden is equal distance — five miles — from schools in Tubbercurry and Ballymote.
This, parents say, places Bunninadden in a unique situation.
But the meeting also heard that a review of the school transport system, and possible changes from September next year, is creating similar concerns in rural communities across the entire country.
Last night’s meeting was attended by Sligo/Leitrim TDs Tony McLoughlin and Martin Kenny, with apologies from Marc MacSharry and Eamon Scanlon.
The meeting heard all have already been working to retain the service.
Local councillors were also present.
It was agreed at the meeting that the TDs would seek a meeting on the issue with the minister responsible, John Halligan.
It was also agreed to seek letters of support from various groups and organisations, such as the GAA and the IFA.
And there were calls for Bus Eireann to communicate better with parents by writing to them with details of any proposed changes to the route or service.
Meeting Chairman Dermot Gormanly emphasised they are not picking one school over another.
But he insists parents want to have the choice of where to send their children to school, not only for themselves but for others who will come later:
Another parent, Stephen Murray, says its vital for working parents to know their children will have transport to the school of their choice, so they can plan ahead.
And he points out many of the children are, in fact, already paying for their transport, having bought what’s known as conessionary tickets: