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Pressure mounts in Urris school bus row 28.04.15

PRESSURE is mounting on Government transport officials to sort out a dispute that proposes to see children from Urris, Clonmany, sent over a treacherous mountain pass to get to school.
Local politicians have been making ongoing representations on behalf of the affected families. Meanwhile, an Urris-born senior academic, Jimmy Donaghey, challenged Minister for Education, Jan O'Sullivan to travel the road to see first-hand its unsuitability as a school transport route.
Mr Donaghey, who is professor of Industrial Relations at the University of Warwick in England, penned a strongly-worded letter to Ms O'Sullivan.
He also forwarded his letter to a number of local press outlets including Inishowen News.
The former Carndonagh Community School student reminded the minister that Urris parents are being given the choice of paying up to €650 to send their children to Carndonagh Community School or alternatively send their children to school in Buncrana using the "treacherous" Mamore Gap.
"The route is completely inappropriate for bussing students to school - one side of the Gap is a corkscrew route, the other side is a 2km, steep gradient drop, only passable by cars going one way at a time," he said.
"Many natives of Urris never use the road due to its nature. Are you prepared to risk the safety of school children going over a mountain road like this during winter? If an accident occurs, will you be willing to take responsibility for the welfare of these students? If this route is not used, then Carndonagh is much closer than Buncrana," Prof Donaghey wrote in his letter.
Meanwhile, Deputy Pádraig MacLochlainn said he had raised the issue for weeks with senior Department of Education officials "to no avail".
He said the department could not simply "pass the buck" on the issue to Bus Eireann.
"I am astounded that weeks after this matter was brought to my attention by parents in Urris and following representations from all of the local TDs, that the Government have not sorted this shambles out. I have offered that the local TDs along with parents from Urris will drive from Urris over Mamore Gap to Owenirk on the other side and back over again. And then ask the Minister or senior Department official present to look us in the eye and stand over this decision," he added.
To read Prof Donaghey's letter in full, click here .
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