Leitrim national school in jeopardy over transport rules

Residents of Gortletteragh parish in Co Leitrim are being warned of a threat to the local national school if school transport rules are rigidly enforced.

The board of management at the school has written to every house in the parish expressing their concern that the local school bus service could be uprooted as a result of the latest indication from the Department of Education of a new definition of school catchment areas.

The ‘nearest-school-bus rule’ was brought in in recent years, meaning that children are not entitled to bus service to a school that is not inside the official catchment or distance area.

If the rule is rigidly enforced, it means that the children of 65 per cent of the area of Gortletteragh parish would be obliged to attend schools outside of it.

An open day is being held at the school tomorrow and people are also encouraged to come along to hear about the problems with school transport.

Pat Byrne, from the board of management, says the future of the parish itself is threatened by this policy.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that school bus runs to two Church of Ireland schools that had been in doubt are to be maintained in Longford.

The services to St John’s National School in Edgeworthstown and the Church of Ireland school in Rathowen will operate as normal in September.

The news has been welcomed by local Fine Gael councillor Micheál Carrigy.