Schoolchildren and politicians protest for return of bus service to Claddagh NS

Children from Claddagh NS taking part in the protest along with Dep Hildegarde Naughton, Cllr Mike Cubbard, Cllr Ollie Crowe, Cllr Donal Lyons, and Dep Noel Grealish.

Children from Claddagh NS taking part in the protest along with Dep Hildegarde Naughton, Cllr Mike Cubbard, Cllr Ollie Crowe, Cllr Donal Lyons, and Dep Noel Grealish.

Ceannt Station was brought to a standstill last Friday as hundreds of children, parents, and staff from Claddagh National School loudly protested the cancellation of a decades-old bus service to the school.

The school's well-known marching band took to the streets around the station as protesters were joined by national and local politicians to call for the restoration of the service from Westside to the Claddagh school.

Local TDs have demanded a meeting with Minister for Transport Shane Ross in the wake of the protest, which also saw a petition with more than 1,000 signatures delivered to Bus Éireann.

Support for the restoration of the service is unanimous both the community and across the political spectrum, according to Claddagh school principal Michael Gallagher.

“It is fair to say that representatives from all political parties – including those in Government – support our campaign," Mr Gallagher said. "Our locally elected representatives came out en masse to support our cause — Deputies Eamon Ó Cuiv, Hildegarde Naughton, Noel Grealish, and Catherine Connolly showed their solidarity, as did Galway councillors Mike Cubbard, Donal Lyons, and Ollie Crowe, and Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh. It seems that everyone is in favour of restoring the bus route – except Bus Éireann.

“We are very hopeful that the politicians who showed their support at the protest will do everything in their power to reverse this thoughtless and cruel decision,” he added.

A short video of the event also proved popular — posted on the Claddagh School Facebook page, it has been shared widely and received more than 10,000 views.

According to Mr Gallagher the cancellation of the service at the end of October has caused serious hardship and anger within the school community.

“This bus has been serving our school for almost 30 years, and was cancelled without consultation or proper notification just as winter began," he said. "We now have families with very young children walking several miles to school at the darkest, coldest, and most dangerous time of the year. It is deeply unfair."

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