A child with autism has brought High Court proceedings over the Minister for Education’s alleged failure to provide her with school transport.
The five-year-old girl, who cannot be named by order of the court, was deemed eligible for a special transport scheme on the basis of her additional educational needs in June.
In her action, the girl, suing through her father, says her parents applied to more than a dozen local schools for a place in junior infants in September of this year.
The nearest school with a suitable place was 18 kilometres away from her home in a county town.
She says she was informed on September 1st, the day she was due to start school, that transportation would be arranged by the end of the month.
She says she has received no further correspondence on the matter, despite her parents having engaged solicitors.
The child says her parents have had to borrow a car from a relative, which has caused them inconvenience and expense.
She alleges the Minister has failed and/or refused to provide school transport within a reasonable time period in breach of her obligations.
She further claims the Minister has failed to perform her functions in a way that is compatible with obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.
The girl seeks an order requiring the Minister to provide her with transport to and from school.
She also wants the court to make various declarations, including that Minister’s failure to provide appropriate transport amounts to a failure in her duty to provide support services under the 1998 Education Act.
The case came before the court on Thursday on the application of Derek Shortall SC, instructed by Gareth Noble of KOD Lyons solicitors
Mr Justice Charles Meenan gave permission for the girl to pursue her case. He adjourned the matter until a date next month.