Meeting fails to resolve concerns at Crossmaglen school

November 25, 2008

Local Councillor Terry Hearty has expressed his disappointment that a recent meeting with officials from the SELB Transport department failed to reach an agreement on the introduction of proposed safety measures at St. Patrick’s Primary School, Crossmaglen.

Following the withdrawal of the bus service from the school earlier this year, Mr Hearty called for the SELB to provide a school crossing patrol to protect the safety of pupils.  In May this year, the SELB removed seventy five children from concessionary transport buses, meaning they have to be transported to and from school daily in private vehicles, obviously leading to a marked increase in traffic at the school.

Mr Hearty said the result of the meeting did nothing to alleviate the concerns of parents regarding their children’s safety.  “We were there to witness at first hand the dangers,” he said, adding that the officials saw for themselves a lady almost being struck by a car reversing as she was leaving the school.

However, despite the obvious dangers, it seems that the school does not meet the criteria for a crossing patrol attendant to manage children and traffic in the school’s locality.

“Many of us see this as penny pinching, irrespective of the safety and well-being of our children,” the Sinn Fein councillor said.  “There is a complete lack of trust or confidence in the SELB Transport Management. Whilst it is convenient for them to justify their decisions by referring to their audits, analysis and priorities, as a public representative, I am accountable to the community and they feel angered and frustrated that genuine concerns have been ignored,” Mr Hearty said. I will continue to highlight the issue and seek its satisfactory resolving.”