Bus service plea to NEELB

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The headmaster of a north Antrim primary school has pleaded with the education authorities to provide a bus service for a mother of three who faces a daily nightmare when taking her children on a three-mile round trip on foot to school.

Mr David Dunlop from Armoy Primary School has re-doubled his efforts in the wake of the recent Cloughmills tragedy, which claimed the life of eight-year-old Adam Gilmour. In a letter to authorities Mr Dunlop outlined the family’s plight “following an unsatisfactory response to two phone calls which I have logged with your department”.

The mother, who lives in a nearby housing estate and did not want to be named, has admitted that twice daily she is forced to negotiate dangerous bends, along the Gracehill Road, whilst watching her two young boys and wheeling a baby in a buggy. And she told the Times she’s so terrified something might happen, that she is threatening to take her children out of school for their safety.

The mother said she has also had to put up with angry motorists ‘shaking their fists’ at the family on the school walk, and that she has already been involved in a few ‘near misses’.

“It seems madness that in this day and age I’m still waking to school with my children. No one should have to do that. I don’t know why some drivers get mad because I have no option but to walk,” she said.

Ballymoney Mayor Bill Kennedy is supporting the family in their plight and said he has urged the education authority to act.

It is understood that a short time after the woman placed her children at Armoy School, the NEELB withdrew the service from her housing estate.

Alderman Kennedy, who was visibly touched by the Cloughmills fatality, said the last thing he wanted was for another incident in his area.

“This situation must be addressed and I, as a local representative, will do all I can to help this woman. It is distressing for her and for her children who have to endure this on a daily basis. The road has two dangerous and quick bends and a lot of traffic use it. In a terrible situation they would have no option but to go through her. I have personally witnessed this lady walking with her children and it can’t continue. There needs to be an additional bus service otherwise we could have another incident like Cloughmills and that was too little to late for wee Adam,” he added.

The mother’s dilemma comes days before Mr Dunlop and local representatives are due to meet with Education Board to discuss the issue of an additional bus service.

Mr Dunlop said: “As a result of ongoing discussions, a meeting with the transport department has been arranged for next week, between family the school and local representatives. We hope for a positive resolution to this situation for the family and the local community.”