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School bus row "completely senseless" - McConalogue 22.04.15

AN Inishowen TD has appealed for "common sense" in a transport row that will see Urris pupils having to switch secondary schools from Carndonagh to Buncrana.
A new system of calculating distances for school bus purposes, deems Mamore Gap the shortest route to school for children in the Urris area.
But Deputy Charlie McConalogue said the system does not take into account the unsuitability of Mamore Gap as a school transport route, especially in treacherous winter conditions. He said there was also a long tradition of Urris families attending Carndonagh Community School.
"The introduction online registration for the school transport scheme as well as the use of Google Maps to determine distances, pupils from the area are being told they now have to attend secondary school in Buncrana," said Deputy McConalogue.
“This new system is completely senseless (and) has the potential to lead to a situation where two siblings are attending two separate schools in different locations, as the new rules only came into force in September 2012."
Deputy Charlie McConalogue
The school transport system uses a variety of methods to calculate the shortest route from a child’s home to the nearest school, including a specially designed GPS mapping system.
Deputy McConalogue added: “I am extremely concerned that the system used to calculate the distance does not take the condition of the routes in question into account. Bus Eireann has decided to use a road through Mamore Gap in calculating one of the routes, despite the fact that the road itself is dangerous, particularly in the winter months, and could put the safety of these children at risk. Despite the concerns raised by local parents, Bus Eireann is refusing to rule out this option." The local Fianna Fáil TD said he has been working on the issue with both Councillor Martin McDermott and Councillor Rena Donaghy and "will be raising this issue directly with (Education) Minister Jan O’Sullivan on the floor of the Dáil this week."
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