Some Mid Ulster school kids faced with 5-mile trek to get the bus

SELB bus to St Mary's Primary School

SELB bus to St Mary's Primary School

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Some families in rural areas are having to drive their children over five miles to meet the school bus, according to a Mid Ulster councillor.

Sinn Fein representative Cathal Mallaghan told this paper he is in talks with Education Authority transport managers to try and find a solution for six families that he knows about in the Kildress area.

Cllr Cathal Mallaghan

Cllr Cathal Mallaghan

But he said “Southern and Western region offices are struggling to fill the gap for children travelling to their schools”.

However, he believes “some simple steps can reduce the burden”

“I was hopeful that when EA abolished the education boards that this would be a problem of the past but there still seems to be a lot of bureaucracy between the new ‘regions’,” he explained.

“I’m positive after being in contact with Dale Hannah (Southern Region Transport Manager) and Michael Cassidy (Tyrone Area) that parents will be able to avail of a more accessible service in the next few days or weeks. September can be a very stressful time for parents with new schools and new school years and I’m always available to help with any issues that can make this process a little easier,” he added.

A spokesperson for the Education Authority said: “The Education Authority (EA) has received a request to extend a bus route for a small number of pupils travelling to Dean Maguirc College in Carrickmore. EA is currently reviewing this matter and will respond directly to parents as soon as this is completed.”