14 December 2016

Labour spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs, Jan O’Sullivan TD, has expressed disappointment that the Government has still not provided the promised free school transport to children of homeless families living in emergency accommodation.

Deputy O’Sullivan raised the matter with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, in the Dáil this afternoon.

“Back in July, the Government’s Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness pledged to provide access to free public transport for school journeys for children in emergency accommodation.

“In October, Minister Simon Coveney indicated it would happen in a matter of weeks.

“And yet here we are approaching the Christmas holidays, with no system in place, and an indication from the Minister that free school transport for these children will not be rolled out until the New Year, and initially only on a pilot basis.

“While I welcome confirmation that leap cards have been provided in Dublin for family outings, it is most disappointing that the transport to school aspect has not yet been arranged.

“Minister Zappone mentioned practical and logistical difficulties in the rolling out of the scheme, which I hope can be addressed as a matter of urgency.

“It is vital that at least one of the problems these families are faced with as they try to maintain the continuity of their children’s lives in extraordinarily difficult circumstances, is alleviated.”

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