A MAYO Oireachtas member has called for funding for proper traffic management and parking for rural schools.
Senator Michelle Mulherin raised in An Seanad the case of Barnacogue National School near Swinford.
Senator Mulherin said: “The principal, Lorraine Bullard, has written to me and has set out the case very clearly. It is a case which is repeated in many schools across the country.
“The school is on a narrow country road which has gotten busier because it leads to Ireland West Airport Knock.
“It is a two-teacher school. The only option for the staff is to park on the road. The only option for parents dropping off kids is to do so at the roadside.
“Cars are whizzing by on what is a substandard and inadequate road in any event. The department will not assist the school in the provision of parking or traffic management and the local authority does not want to help either.
“In my view, road safety and traffic management should be the concern of both the local authority, in this case Mayo County Council, and the Department of Education and Skills.
“The reality is that if these students were fortunate enough to be getting a new school, the Department of Education and Skills would require traffic management and provision for children to get in and out of transport - cars or buses - safely.
“These schools cannot afford that because they are small. There needs to be co-operation.
“Hundreds of small rural primary schools around the country are struggling with this issue.
“In many cases, there are narrow and dangerous roads leading to these schools. Many of those schools were built at a time when the only traffic going to school was on foot.
“There is a lot more traffic on the roads now and many of these schools struggle to provide proper traffic management and parking.
“There needs to be joined up thinking so that these pupils and staff are not left at a disadvantage or in danger of passing traffic.”