Bus Éireann welcomes Court of Appeal ruling on School Transport Scheme

Bus Éireann welcomes Court of Appeal ruling on School Transport Scheme

Bus Éireann welcomes today’s decision of the Court of Appeal in relation to the School Transport Scheme.

The unanimous judgement – issued by Mr. Justice Gerard Hogan – stated that “the school transport system is an essential feature of rural life,” and that “but for the Scheme, many children – especially those living in outlying rural areas might have difficulty in attending school.” The judgement upheld a previous High Court ruling that “the scheme is an administrative arrangement between the Minister [for Education] and CIÉ/Bus Éireann.”

As a result of this ruling Bus Éireann will continue to provide the State with an efficient, effective, safe and reliable School Transport Scheme that carries almost 115,000 school children on 4,150 vehicles, travelling over 6,500 routes that serve more than 3,000 schools.

The company will continue to work with 1,250 school transport operators nationwide in the provision of these services – which provides thousands of jobs in communities across the country. The Department of Education and Skills previously won a High Court case – taken against the Minister for Education & Skills, in which Bus Éireann was on a notice party to proceedings – challenging the administration arrangements for the scheme. The Court of Appeal have now upheld this decision of October 2012 and rejected the legal challenge against it.

Bus Éireann chief executive Martin Nolan said today’s Court of Appeal decision was an important one:

“We have been operating this vital transport scheme across Ireland carrying the children of the State for almost 50 years. This makes us one of the most experienced school transport service providers - on a national scale - in the world, which is a record we are very proud of.”

“The scheme involves the use of 3,750 vehicles and drivers employed by private operators, providing vital jobs in rural communities, and allows SMEs to supplement their other work, which includes important social transport services. As part of the scheme, we also transport over 10,000 children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) to their education centres.

“Today’s decision is an endorsement of the scheme, which we operate on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills.”

Friday, 27th May, 2016