Hot school meals should be available to every primary school pupil in Ireland in the coming years, according to the Minister for Social Protection.
Heather Humphreys yesterday launched a review of the School Meals Programme on a visit to Scoil Treasa Naofa Primary School in Dublin 8.
The programme currently supports over 230,000 children in over 1,500 schools around the country at a cost of €65m.
Spent a fantastic morning meeting students and staff at Scoil Treasa Naofa in Dublin, one of 300 schools availing of the Hot School Meals Programme.
I want to see the programme expanded so that more children can get a hot meal in the middle of the day @welfare_ie pic.twitter.com/EVP1Kz7vNc
— Heather Humphreys (@HHumphreysFG) April 6, 2022
Minister Humphreys said the programme includes Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, Cold Meals and Hot Meals and noted that the number of schools getting hot meals has increased ten-fold in her time as minister.
She said she is now “absolutely determined” to expand the programme so more schools can benefit.
The Irish Times reports that she then said her dream is to ensure that every child in Ireland gets a hot school meal every day.
She noted that, while it would be expensive to provide so many meals, it could be done on an incremental basis.
The review will now examine whether the programme can be expanded – including to schools that are not categorised as disadvantaged.
Hot school meals were introduced in 2019 and the programme has grown significantly from its initial pilot of 30 schools to the current offering which provides hot meals to 280 primary schools and 54,000 children.