DEIS schools must have school meals programmes – Ó Snodaigh
Following presentations to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Social Protection on the issue of School Meals Provision, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, called for accelerated action by the Department of Social Protection to address the crying need of one in five children going to school hungry.
Teachta Ó Snodaigh said:
“The Minister has to ensure, at minimum, that all DEIS (Delivering Equality in Schools) schools have an operational school meals programme, the place to prepare the food and have it eaten.
“At present, there are over 100 schools who would qualify for the School Meals Programme who can’t avail of it, because of problems such as no kitchen or canteen on site.
“This needs to be addressed immediately, to ensure hungry children are not going without their entitlement because the Department of Education wouldn’t build a kitchen and/or canteen.
“It has been shown that with the introduction of breakfast clubs, School Meals Programmes help children who are hungry, enabling them to gain the best out of the time spent at school, and at the same time, increasing school attendance.
“It is an indictment of our society, and in particular Governments in the state, that so many children go to school hungry. More investment should be put into providing breakfast clubs or School Meals Programmes in all DEIS schools, in the first instance, and all schools thereafter.
“I would like to see more joined up thinking on this issue and a key lead given to one Department rather than the current situation where there are at least three Departments responsible.”