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Deputy Cathal Crowe (FF)

Ryanair refunds Tulla students after cancelled school tour

RYANAIR has delivered on a promise to refund a school group from St Joseph’s in Tulla, whose planned Transition Year tour to Barcelona last April had to be called off because of the pandemic.

The repayments were confirmed by Deputy Cathal Crowe who said the money was received on Tuesday morning (March 16). Following the intervention of Deputy Crowe and Senator Timmy Dooley, Ryanair agreed to make the refund. The money went to the school who then repaid students and families.

“Even though, following my intervention last month, Ryanair’s CEO Eddie Wilson agreed to directly refund the school so that they in turn could reimburse all parents, the reimbursement was delayed,” said Deputy Crowe. “This prompted me last week to engage with Ryanair to ensure that the matter would be brought to a conclusion. I’m delighted that there has been a successful outcome to this dispute.”

Despite the successful outcome, Deputy Crowe described the delay, on Ryanair’s part, as “ridiculous”. “Far too many people throughout Ireland, not just school students hoping to go on tours, have been burned on airfare refunds over the past few months,” he said. “A return to normal aviation and air travel still seems some way off and it’s important that consumers are protected in this for long-term certainty for the sector – they are, after all, at the heart of the aviation sector. For these students this is good outcome – many had saved up their own funds; for others, their parents forked out money to make this trip of a lifetime happen and I’m glad they can all be fully reimbursed and this be put to bed.”

While the airline had insisted, at all stages, that it was prepared to return the money which the students had paid through an operator called Saffron Travel, a dispute had arisen as to how the refund was to be made. The seat-pricing policy operated by Ryanair meant that individual refunds – the method preferred by the airline – would have resulted in some students getting far less money back than the €200 each of them had paid. After intensive efforts on the part of the Clare’s Fianna Fáil Oireachtas members the total flight fare of €17,500 was paid to the school, who made an equal refund to each of the 80 affected students.

Local woman Jane Halloran Ryan was among the parents who attended a Zoom meeting on the issue last month. She thanked the school for administering the refund and the Oireachtas members for their intervention.

“We got word today (Tuesday) and we are delighted to have this long running issue resolved,” she said. “Many thanks to Cathal Crowe, Timmy Dooley and St Joseph’s principal, Ms Coman for their assistance.”

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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