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Crowe calls for breakfast club and school meals system to address child food poverty

16 April, 2007

Speaking this morning Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Seán Crowe called for the introduction of a universal system of breakfast clubs and school meals throughout all schools to help address child food poverty.

The Dublin South-West TD said, "The creation of a school meals system, available five days a week, would assist in addressing child food poverty. As an immediate interim step, school meals systems should be extended to all schools in RAPID areas. By making nutritious meals available to all schoolchildren their health would significantly improve, so too would their school attendance and ability to focus in class. The breakfast clubs for instance would provide a safe, secure and social environment for schoolchildren to start their day.

"We should take inspiration from education systems that provide students free breakfasts, lunch and afternoon snacks. With the increase in the take-up of school meals there have been proven increases in school attendance and a decline in drop-out rates.

"There should even be scope for children to become involved in the preparation of meals. Sinn Féin believes that every school should have the appropriate facilities to run this scheme and that no new school should be constructed without proper kitchen facilities. Community Employment schemes could be used to supply the workers, to ensure a community-led approach and employment benefits to the area." Críoch

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