Senator Sharon Keogan — Remote Area Grant
Minister, I mentioned the remote area grant back in September. That grant is available, although
a lot of people may not even know it is, for people who are living outside the distances of the
school. I asked for an increase in the payment rate on that grant? Fuel has gone up. The daily
rate is currently €1.30 for children living between 3.2 km and 4.7 km from the school. If
someone is 9.7 km away they can get €5.10 a day.
Has there been any progress on increasing the daily rates? This would take a little bit of
pressure off parents as well. That grant is paid annually. Is there any way it could be paid each
term? In light of the cost-of-living crisis, is there any way these applications could be submitted
after each of the three school terms? That might also alleviate the pressure on parents
But now, possibly from the advertisement I gave the grant, I hear from people who are applying
for it that they’re finding it almost impossible.
It is important to note that an application for school transport must be made
before a Remote Area Grant may be considered.
Sign up on the Bus Éireann website for school transport is not user friendly at all — the “Apply
for School Transport” page has no sign up button, just a wall of text, and hidden in the middle of
that it tells you to make an account to apply.
Why make it so difficult? Just have a form there, or a big button — Bus Éireann should change
Bus Éireann operates the school transport scheme on behalf of the Department — no-one can
reach them, or the section of the Department responsible for administering the scheme.
I looked into it online yesterday, and it’s not clear at all how to apply, or where to apply to —
you’d be forgiven for thinking the Department didn’t actually want anyone availing of this grant,
and was hiding it away.
How many children are in receipt of this grant? How many applications are made, granted and
refused each year? Can we get some transparency on this?
Parents all over the country are reporting that they don’t know where to start applying, they can’t
find the form, they’re being given the runaround — are we running this scheme or are we not?
Hopefully, Minister, you can tell me today how the administration of this grant is going to be