Seanad debates

Wednesday, 28 February 2024

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


10:30 am

Photo of Micheál CarrigyMicheál Carrigy (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I concur with the comments welcoming the report on school transport. While I welcome that we are extending eligibility to more people, we are still going to have the same issues, including a shortage of people to drive buses. We have the simple issue of people - because tickets are free in some cases - applying for tickets even when they are not being used, and then we are leaving other kids on the side of the road unable to access the transport they needed. Much more thinking needs to be done in respect of the school transport plan.

I would also like to ask the Minister for Education to write to every education and training board, ETB, regarding Youthreach. I served as chair of the board of Youthreach in Longford from 2009 to 2014. It was one of the most rewarding positions I have held. A new directive was issued in October of last year with regard to payments for youngsters who are on the scheme. We had very high attendance numbers on those courses due to the fact that if someone did not attend on a particular day, there could be a cut to the payment that they were getting for taking part. What happened when it was changed was that youngsters started only coming in one day or possibly two days each week rather than four or five days. They were still getting the full payment. I do not think that sends out the right message. I know the Minister, Deputy Harris, sent a directive when this became known to him asking all ETBs to revert to the old system, which was working well and which provided an incentive for the youngsters to attend. That is what we want them to do. That directive was sent out, yet some ETBs are still not implementing it. What has happened is that the attendance rates in Youthreach in those ETB areas has fallen. I ask that it be communicated to the Minister for Education that she should write to all ETBs and ask that they implement the directive passed down by the Minister for further and higher education about going back to the old system.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.