Belfast Telegraph

Cloughmills tragedy: Probe begins into how board handled mum's school bus plea

By Chris Kilpatrick

An investigation is under way into how an education board handled a mother's desperate pleas for school transport weeks prior to one of her children being killed.

Education Minister John O'Dowd has ordered the North Eastern Education and Library Board to compile a report setting out how it dealt with the request.

Adam Gilmour (8) was killed on his way to school on Tuesday. He had been walking with his mum and five siblings along a country road in Cloughmills, Co Antrim. His funeral will take place on Sunday. The child's family blamed the board for his death after it emerged his mother Sarah urged it last month to provide a bus to her children's school from their home.

Mr O'Dowd said: "It would inappropriate for me to comment specifically on the details of the accident as I understand that a police investigation is under way.

"I have also asked my officials to seek a report from the North Eastern Education and Library Board."

The chairman of Stormont's education committee yesterday urged Mr O'Dowd to publish a review on bus provision following the tragedy. Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kinahan said the review was given to the minister in August, and should be brought before the education committee and Assembly to be discussed.

Mr O'Dowd, who appointed Dr Sian Thornthwaite to lead an independent review of school transport last December, said: "It is a complex report and I am taking time to consider its recommendations before deciding on the way forward. Any changes to school transport provision will have to go out to public consultation before final decisions are made."

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