Independent TD Carol Nolan has said that the failure of Bus Eireann and the Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan, to act on her call for an immediate revision of the current mandatory retirement age for bus drivers is directly contributing to significant deficits in school transport availability.
The Laois Offaly TD Nolan had previously raised the matter with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in late June. At that time, the Taoiseach said that he was personally in favour of allowing workers such as bus drivers, to continue working past the age of 70 if they are fit for the job and have a desire to continue in their employment:
“When I raised this matter in June it was because I was being personally informed that very many bus drivers wanted to keep working but were forced out due to mandatory retirement,” said Deputy Nolan.
“It was in that context that I asked the Taoiseach to intervene with minister Ryan and why I urged him to revise the current policy of mandatory retirement for drivers who reach the age of 70 despite being in possession of a full PSV licence, a full driver licence and who are certified as medically fit to drive.”
“This should also apply to drivers who have been working as contractors with Bus Éireann but who are also currently required to retire at 70. As I noted at the time, the current approach is discriminatory and counter-productive, and it needs to be changed.”
“I know that this policy was revised a number of years ago to allow for the age limit to be raised to 70, but I certainly think we need to take a fresh look at it once again in light of the ongoing and very serious deficits that have re-emerged at the beginning if this academic year,” concluded Deputy Nolan.