Investigation launched after child with special needs left on board bus

Five-year-old boy brought back to bus depot

The bus transport system to and from the school is run by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education

The bus transport system to and from the school is run by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education

 


An investigation has been ordered by the Department of Education after a five-year-old boy with autism was yesterday left aboard a bus that was ferrying students to a school for children with special needs.

It is understood the boy – a student of St Joseph’s Special School, Balrothery, in Dublin – was picked up from his home yesterday morning but was left on the bus as the driver departed for the depot.

The bus transport system to and from the school is run by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education.

The child was ultimately found by the driver at the depot and brought back to the school – but there were conflicting reports last night as to whether the child was left on board the bus by himself for any period of time.

One source claimed the boy had been left on board for up to 2½ hours before the driver returned to the depot and found him. Another source claimed the child had not been alone on the bus at any point and had been found by the driver immediately upon his arrival at the depot.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Education last night issued a statement to The Irish Times: “I can confirm the Department of Education and Skills became aware of an incident involving a student at St Joseph’s Special School, Balrothery, this evening. The department is in contact with Bus Éireann, which operates the school bus service, and is investigating the incident.”

A spokesman for Bus Eireann confirmed it is undertaking an investigation of its own.

The school could not be reached for comment.

The incident comes after it emerged yesterday that a woman with an intellectual disability was locked on board a mini-bus for almost seven hours. The woman was supposed to have been dropped off at the Moorehaven centre for adults with intellectual disabilities in Co Tipperary – but was found by a bus driver in a yard at Limerick Junction on the evening of May 27th.