Many parents in Trim are distressed because Bus Eireann have refused placements for their children. Many parents around the county are reporting similar refusals just a couple of weeks before schools reopen after the summer holidays. The Department of Education and Bus Eireann must act. The school bus scheme must be resourced to allow all children - particularly in rural areas - a place on the school bus. This is another example of how rural children are disadvantaged in terms of their education. Many parents validly are pointing out that the school bus transport process is out of date and not in the best interest of families. Why are people applying for school bus places by an April deadline and not being notified until now, 2-3 weeks before children are returning to school? Why do they need to pay €100 on application to then have it refunded when their application is refused last minute? Surely the cost of processing the money in and back out again would pay for many, many school bus places. Why are children entitled to, and with a placement this year, not automatically entitled to it next year? This type of uncertainty is very stressful for parents and the system makes it impossible to work around. It beggars belief that the Government thinks only providing 2-3 weeks is enough notice for families to make alternative arrangements. Most hard working families will struggle to change work patterns at such short notice to facilitate the school run – if it’s even possible. A lack of school bus transport will make it more difficult for women to re-enter the workforce and cause untold difficult for families. I have a number of families on the Rock Road, who cannot get the Dangan bus to come down their road, despite being able to demonstrate present and future demand. The bus passes within a mile but the driver for insurance cannot deviate from the contracted route for insurance purposes. I am making representations to the Department on behalf of these residents. It’s an outrage that insurance companies are having such an impact on every aspect of Irish life and I’d call on the Government again to take on these companies who have made super-normal profits over the past few years on the backs of Irish families and small businesses. I have spoken to bus providers in Trim who have availability for bus places, if requested by Bus Eireann. They have expressed frustration and upset as they have been approached by people they know who are desperate for bus placements for their children. One family in a Trim estate has a son in the ASD unit in St Mary's and was entitled to the bus because of this. He has now moved to St Michael's next door and thankfully has been deemed eligible for mainstream education. However, his bus place has now been taken from him. This causes serious distress to children with his condition never mind the disruption to routine and his parent's worklife. Most worryingly. I have had reports of parents being advised to send their children to schools in different counties because geographically, Kildare schools can be closer to parts of Meath. How is this a solution? Why do we want to send our children to other counties for their basic right to education? We need Bus Eireann to review the routes, requirements and refusals already issued and make best endeavours to accommodate all applicants. The bus companies can accommodate these children and this Government needs to stop hiding behind the Department of Education and step up and find a solution. Listen in at 1hr 13min 50sec to Hazel Thompson Carty and I discussing the school bus placement debacle.
- Jul 15, 2019
- 3 min read
Friday, 12th July, we attended our first Ordinary Meeting of Trim Municipal District which is normally held on the 3rd Friday of the month. We brought it forward this month to accommodate the Cathaoirleach’s trip to the US with Gluais. We wish Noel and Gluais every success on their travels and know they will be great representatives of the town.
I asked the Engineer if all roadworks and traffic calming measures at Longwood in particular would be completed before the school season commences in September. It is important that the Council undertake these works where possible at convenient times for the people. With a contractor appointed in July, this should be the case at Longwood. I welcome the addition of the raised pedestrian crossings however we wait to see if it will be enough on the approach roads where speeding is a serious issue.
I asked the Council Officials to confirm the up to date position on the Ribbontail development project. €92k fund hangs in the balance as the Council endeavour to come to an agreement with concerned landowners. The Council have now proposed to take the lane in charge to alleviate the landowners’ worries in relation to claims for slips, trips and falls – or worse.
Who can blame them in the current claim culture that exists?
An added complication that part of the land is under the Kildare Co Co jurisdiction has to be overcome. We need Kildare Co Co to do likewise for part of the lane. Council Officials are quietly confident but cautious a positive conclusion can be reached. We need to be mindful and respectful of the landowner’s concerns and rights in relation to their land but hopefully a compromise can be reached as the project means so much to locals and the wider community.
Traders – Parking & CCTV
A group of over 100 traders in Trim believe that paid parking is having a detrimental effect on trade around the town. At a minimum they want 30 minutes grace, at the most they believe removal of paid parking entirely would have a positive impact on business.
The traders also suggested to me that we require CCTV around the town. I wholeheartedly agree – in light of all the recent instances of anti-social behaviour, criminal damage and theft, CCTV will be a very welcome addition. Understanding the issues around GDPR, data controlling etc, we need to overcome these for the greater good.
Our businesses are the backbone of our towns – we can ask people to shop local and support business, but as Councillors, it is our responsibility to ensure favourable conditions for traders as well. We do not want to see any more vacant units appearing particularly on our main streets.
R154 – Lackanash – Dublin Rd
I seconded Cllr Golden’s motion and was delighted to do so. He asked that Meath County Council assess and prepare a report on improving pedestrian access from the R154 to Lackanash Road and onto the Dublin Road. So many people are very concerned about this area. The speed sign at Lackanash Road was a great addition but without continued speed checks it loses impact. A raised pedestrian crossing on Lackanash Road – one at least - at the entrance to Porchfields – is required. A cantilever bridge and pedestrian/cyclist lights should all be considered as part of a comprehensive report which is being commissioned. Experiencing first-hand the speed on this road regularly this report should be done as a matter of urgency. Speeds have been recorded up to 147kph!
The proposed project, which will be subject to a Part 8 application, is a really exciting. I welcome this without reservation. It is a welcome addition to the Porchfields while still being sympathetic to its surroundings. We are extremely lucky to have kept this green amenity within the town, thanks to the foresight of many before us. We are literally proposing enhancing what is a fantastic resource for walkers, runners, tourists and families. The natural beauty of the Fields will be protected. Paths will be levelled, not widened, but grass verges on the paths will be improved to allow safe passing. Running paths will be reinforced. Picnic benches and seating areas will be included and improved. A biodiversity area will be included. The piece de resistance will be a performance area – not permanent structure – with the castle in the background providing a breathtaking setting.
We discussed and congratulated all those associated with the progress made on Trim’s Blueway and look forward to advancing it.
A long discussion was held about hedge and verge cutting and councillors expressed a desire for more hedge cutting demands to be issued by the Council.
All in all, we had a very productive meeting with great participation, ideas and engagement. I look forward to September’s meeting.
If you have any issues or queries you’d like addressed please don’t hesitate to contact me.
- Jun 14, 2019
- 2 min read
Today, 14th June, was the first meeting of the Trim Municipal District. The first official meeting of the six councillors elected to represent the Trim area. The councillors elected are myself (FF), Joe Fox (FG), Niamh Souhan (FG), Noel French (FG), Ronan Moore (Soc Dem), and Trevor Golden (Ind). We cover the Trim South Meath area, which includes Trim, Summerhill, Kilbride, Ballivor, Kildalkey, Clonard, Enfield, Ballinabrackey and lots in between.
The Trim Municipal District (MD) meetings are generally focused on local, Trim area based issues, proposals, motions etc. Apart from today, as the first meeting is almost a replica of the first County Council meeting, in that it is used to elect the Chair, Vice Chair and any committee places available specific to the Trim area. We started with election of the Chair (position is filled annually) and Noel French was proposed and seconded. I asked if I could submit a proposal that the position of chair be given to Noel French in year 1, but every year after, the position of chair should be decided fairly – perhaps by drawing names from a hat. So that all of us who were elected equally would have an equal opportunity to become chair once over the 5 years.
My first motion was defeated, hopefully that won’t happen too often!
Ronan Moore and Fine Gael voted against my proposal and therefore Noel French was elected Chair this year, Ronan Moore was elected Vice Chair. We will all have an opportunity next year to decide on a new Chair and perhaps my proposal will be reconsidered then. In the interest of fairness and to respect the mandate we were all given equally, I thought it important to bring this proposal forward anyway.
It would be a great honour to be the chair however with a full time job, normal council work, and the committees I am on at county level, I will be busy enough!
We agreed dates for our meetings for the area and the floor was opened to AOB.
Some of what is discussed cannot be disclosed straight after meetings as they are in very early stages, not agreed or just confidential. I will endeavour to give as much information as possible at the appropriate times. I will say however that the meeting was full of fresh ideas, exciting projects in the pipeline and enthusiasm and collaboration.
I believe we will work well as a team and we agreed a motion on climate change to be brought forward at county level as suggested by Ronan Moore.
We were presented a proposal on Longwood traffic calming measures which I know will be very well received in and around the village. The Council are installing 3 raised crossings on the 3 approach roads in an effort to reduce speed in and around the village.
Congratulations to Councillor French and Councillor Moore on their appointments as well as the various appointments to committees.