The Minister for Education has said her department would review the possibility of issuing school transport refunds to parents.
The Minister made the statement in Dáil Éireann in a response to a question from Clare Independent T.D. Michael McNamara.
Deputy McNamara raised the question as many children had not availed of school transport because of the closure of schools following Christmas.
Deputy Michael McNamara asked the Minister: “Parents will have paid in advance for transport to schools which were shut through no fault of their own or the Minister. In any event, the buses were not running and they did not burn any fuel and did not incur any costs. Will that money be refunded?
In response Minister for Education, Norma Foley, T.D. said: “The issue of bus transport and the facility not being used will be looked at by my Department and it will make an accommodation in respect of funds not being used even though they had been paid.
When further pressed by Deputy McNamara on whether they will be refunded the Minister said: “My Department will look at mechanisms to ensure that nobody will be out of pocket because of a service that did not run.”
However, Deputy McNamara continued to press for clarification of whether refunds would be made while the Minister remained reluctant to be drawn any further on the matter.
Deputy Michael McNamara again asked: “Will there be a refund or will there not be a refund? I do not understand why Ministers parade in here and refuse to answer basic questions.”
Minister Foley replied: “I am making the point that a variety of mechanisms could be used to address this issue. My Department is looking at this issue, and when that has been finalised, I will respond directly to Deputy McNamara.”