They were speaking at today’s meeting of Donegal County Council following Saturday’s protest in the Finn Valley.
Under the new rules, children will only get free transport if they go the post-primary school nearest to their homes.
This will have a significant impact on children in the Finn Valley area – those who go to schools in Raphoe and Stranorlar.
Cllr Dessie Larkin: “People are being told to go to schools that they have no family association or affinity with.”
He supported a claim by Cllr Frank McBrearty that the new rules were unconstitutional.
“I will be saying to parents that these new rules are unconstitutional; they go against the choice of parents and their children,” said Cllr McBrearty today.
Hundreds of parents marched through the Twin Towns on Saturday in protest at the planned new rules.
Fine Gael councillor John Ryan said parents in Newtowncunningham are also being hit.
“It just doesn’t make sense,” he said, supporting a motion criticising the new rules.
Cllr Paul Canning said of the Newtown situation: “There’s a mile or two difference; two buses go to Raphoe every day and two buses go to Letterkenny. At the end of all of this there will still be four buses going to schools.”
Councillors heard it would also affect schools in Inishowen, Milford and Kilmacrennan areas.
Cllr Mickey Doherty said he knew of one case of a child who was already attending school in Carndonagh, but under the new rules his younger brother who is registered to go there next year will no longer be able to avail of free school transport.
Cllr Marie Therese Gallagher said that she understood that the State has never actually carried out a cost saving analysis, a point agreed with Cllr Seamus O’Domhnaill who said he believed there wouldn’t be any savings.
“If a child is being bullied at one school and switches to another school, that child cannot get free transport to the new school, this is ridiculous,” said Cllr O’Domhnaill.
Councillors from all parties agreed to pass a motion proposed by Cllr Harvey asking Transport Minister Ciaran Cannon to review the rules.
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