North Cork TD Seán Sherlock has said that not one seat must be lost due to technical issues in managing medical card payments for school transport seats, which has a deadline of this Friday.
“The cyber attack has had far reaching consequences and it appears that those families who hold medical cards have been unable to confirm their tickets because of the cyber attack.
“I raised this directly with the Minister for Education as one of concern that families could lose seats. That must not happen.”
“The validation of seats and late validation must not result in those seats being lost. I am still disappointed that no reforms are being proposed by the Fianna Fáil Fine Gael Green Party coalition on how school transport operates, when we know the scheme as it stands is flawed”
According to the Department, Bus Éireann have been unable to offer the Medical Card verification system as part of the school transport payment due to the cybersecurity attack on the HSE systems but are ‘working closely with the HSE team to find a resolution to this’.
“In the meantime, Bus Éireann will roll forward the medical card details used successfully for payment last year as payment for 21/22 school transport tickets, where children continue to be eligible for transport.”
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR FAMILIES?
- Families are not required to enter their medical card as payment where the same medical card was used successfully last year. The child’s existing medical card will be processed as payment for the school transport ticket for the 2021/22 school year. A ticket will issue automatically in the coming weeks.
- Families can access their account and view the details that have been applied.
- Where families have other children without a medical card, they will need to pay the charges due before Friday 30th July. Families account balances will be updated to reflect the medical card applied.
- Should a family have a new application for a child for the 2021/22 school year, and did not use a medical card last year, they can enter the medical card for this child and it will be validated later.
When Deputy Sherlock raised the issue with Minister for Education Norma Foley, further tom the above, she said Bus Éireann had contacted family account holders who used their child’s medical card for payment in the 2020/21 school year directly advising them of this issue. “Advice and regular updates are also being provided on www.buseireann.ie/schooltransport.”
Minister Foley said the School Transport Scheme is ‘a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department’.
“In the 2020/21 school year more than 114,100 children, including over 14,700 children with special educational needs, were transported on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country at a cost of over €224.7m in 2020.”