High Court to rule on Bus Éireann school scheme
THE HIGH Court will rule today on the future of the €160 million a year school transport scheme operated by State company Bus Éireann.
Earlier this year, Student Transport Scheme (STS), backed by US multinational Navistar, argued in the High Court that the Department of Education should put the schools service out to tender.
Bus Éireann provides the service for the Department of Education. STS wants to bid to provide the service and told the High Court it could do so for considerably less than the €160 million paid to the State company for the service.
Tomorrow in the High Court Mr Justice Brian McGovern will rule on whether or not the State should invite tenders for contracts to provide the service, effectively opening it up to all operators, within and outside the Republic.
STS claimed that the State’s failure to do this breaks EU rules on public procurement.
However, the department and Bus Éireann claimed there was no contract between the two in the first place.
Since the case was heard in July, it has emerged that Bus Éireann is suing one of STS’s executives, Tim Doyle, for defamation.
Mr Doyle claimed in a letter to Senator David Norris that Bus Éireann has been involved in bullying and bribery.
Bus Éireann manages the schools service from 11 offices around the State. It contracts out many of the routes to private operators.
It has said that about one-third of the cost of providing the service goes on transporting special-needs children to school.