Councillors at a recent meeting of the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council's Policy and Resources Committee expressed their scepticism over a planned consultation by the Department of Education on “Home to School Transport Review”. The consultation deals with the transport to and from school of children in both urban and rural areas.

Several councillors stated that it was their belief that the consultation could be used to further reduce transport options for parents.

Sinn Fein Councillor Sheamus Greene was concerned that the consultation won’t deliver on what the Department has itself promised, which is to ensure a “positive impact” on home to school transport:

“Looking at these consultations the number one aim is usually to cut money or save money so how it is going to improve life for people living in rural areas I find it hard to figure. It could quite easily be the opposite, that there is less home to school transport.”

UUP Councillor Alex Baird stated that he believed there should be free transport for all school children:

“I honestly believe that that should be the way forward. It will remove the inequalities that there and the danger and will also reduce the carbon footprint which at schools time is a carbon bootprint.”

His part colleague Robert Irvine had a problem with some questions that were missing from the proposed consultation, specifically the fact that the issue of a minimum distance that travel should be provided for was not included.

Several proposals were made over the course of the discussion with the result that the Council has asked for further clarity and assurance on a number of issues from the Department of Education.