Concerns over proposals to cut bus escort for schoolchildren

Derry City & Strabane District Councillor Derek Hussey.
Derry City & Strabane District Councillor Derek Hussey.
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Derry & Strabane councillors have expressed concerns over the potential impact of any move to cut the number of school bus escorts for children in the western area.

A motion on the matter was tabled by Alderman Derek Hussey at the full monthly Council meeting on Thursday.

Councillors backed his call for the Council to “urge the Education Authority (EA) and the Education Minister to clarity their intention to reduce the number of bus escorts with effect from 31 August 2016”.

A representative from the EA has also been invited to explain their intentions for the local council area.

Colr. Hussey said that “some of the most vulnerable people in our society could be affected” by this move, which he said was likely to take effect at the end of August, although he has is not aware of any official notification from the EA to parents .

“The staff themselves must be distraught,” he added.

DUP Colr. Drew Hussey said he understood union officials and the EA were still in discussions and that a further review was likely before anything was put in place.

Sinn Fein Councillor Maoliosa McHugh said this was a child protection issue, with SDLP Councillor John Boyle agreeing, adding that the public was clearly concerned and that the details of what was now on the table needed to be explored.

Colr. Hussey’s motion was passed by the councillors and an invite is expected to be issued to the EA.