2k WELB pupils took private buses

ALMOST two thousand primary school pupils got private hire buses to school in the Western Education and Library Board (WELB) in 2010/11, according to the Education Minister.

In total 1,940 took private hire buses to school. The majority of pupils were at secondary level (1,256) followed by primary level (595). Twelve special primary, 43 special secondary and 34 special school pupils also took private hire buses.

Back in June the Sentinel revealed that hundreds of children were being bused to school in private hire coaches in breach of EU law across Londonderry and the wider North West.

WELB vowed to stop the practice by cancelling all contracts with bus companies from the Republic of Ireland (ROI) after receiving advice from the Department of the Environment (DoE).

The shake-up followed Bready busman William Leonard forcing the DoE into a major U-turn over the uninhibited influx of Donegal firms into Londonderry with Minister Alex Attwood admitting the free-for-all did not comply with European Law.