Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Thomas Byrne has called on Minister Richard Bruton to set out his contingency plans for schools in the event of a strike occurring at Bus Éireann.

Bus Éireann currently operates the School Transport Scheme on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills.

Deputy Byrne said, “Thousands of pupils face significant disruption in the event of a strike occurring across the Bus Éireann network. Initially parents were led to believe that school bus services would not be impacted by any strike, but recent reports indicate that school bus drivers are about to be balloted for industrial action and may be affected in anycase by the placing of pickets on garages and fuel depots.

“Parents have been left in the dark regarding the impact of a strike on school bus services. Minister Bruton needs to work with Bus Éireann management to determine what services will be unavailable in the event of a strike. Parents will have to arrange alternative transport for their children if a strike occurs. This takes time to organise so it’s important the relevant information is made available without any further delay.

“Minister Bruton also needs to set out what contingency plans his department will be putting in place to limit the impact of a strike at Bus Éireann on schools. Will pupils be penalised if they are unable to arrange alternative transport to attend school during the strike? Will they have the opportunity to re-sit exams if the strike prevents them from attending school? These are basic questions that need to be answered.

“Minister for Transport Shane Ross is completely failing in his duty to protect our public transport network, but this shouldn’t prevent Minister Bruton from taking the necessary steps to limit the impact of any potential industrial action at Bus Éireann on schools.”