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It's against the rules for Daniel to take school bus with his brother

By Victoria O'Hara

The mother of a four-year-old boy has spoken of her "utter frustration" after an education board refused to allocate her son a seat beside his older brother on a school bus.

Roisin Gallagher (35), from Mountfield, Co Tyrone, said she was shocked when the Western Education and Library Board (WELB) declined to fund a place for her child, Daniel, who starts P1 next Monday - just one year after her oldest child had been given a seat on the bus.

Instead Mrs Gallagher, who is heavily pregnant with her fourth child, said she will now have to put Noel (5) on the bus to St Teresa's Primary School, Loughmacrory - then be forced to drive Daniel to school directly behind the vehicle.

Mrs Gallagher, who raised the issue on the BBC Nolan Show yesterday, said the situation is "ridiculous".

"I was shocked when I received the letter telling me Daniel would not be allocated a space on the bus to St Teresa's Primary School, Loughmacrory," she told the Belfast Telegraph.

Mrs Gallagher said Daniel could have got a place on a bus, but to a different primary school slightly closer to their house.

"It is to do with geography," she said. "Daniel is going into P1 on Monday week, but we were told he couldn't get a seat on the bus because we live closer to another school 1.9 miles away. And the school in Loughmacrory is about 2.5 miles away.

"Daniel was looking forward to starting school, but doesn't understand why he can't get on the bus with his brother. I am just utterly frustrated with the whole situation."

The Department of Education said it was "an operational matter for the Western Education Library Board". The WELB were unavailable for comment at the time of going to print yesterday.

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