Fianna Fáil TD for Dún Laoghaire and spokesperson on Dublin, Cormac Devlin, has welcomed the inclusion of 58 schools across the county in the Hot School Meals Programme for 2021.

An additional €5.5 million was secured, as part of Budget 2021, for the extension of the Hot School Meals Programme to primary school pupils who had been availing of the cold lunch only.

Following expressions of interest and a selection process, 189 schools, including 171 DEIS schools, have been chosen.

The hot meals will be available to all pupils enrolled in the 189 primary schools, which do not have canteen/kitchen facilities on site and will replace the cold lunch which has been in place to date.

Commenting Deputy Devlin said, “Our school children have shown extraordinary resilience over the past 12 months amid huge disruption caused to their lives by Covid-19.

“The Hot School Meals Programme is an important initiative in terms of a child’s wellbeing and nutrition. It is also known to facilitate better education outcomes and today’s announcement will be a relief to many parents and low-income families that are struggling during this time.

“I particularly welcome news that the 525 students of St. Kevin’s NS in Sallynoggin and Scoil Mhuire in Shankill will benefit from this Programme.

“Children will be offered a choice of two different meals per day plus a vegetarian/vegan option, as well as an option that caters for pupils’ religious and cultural dietary requirements.

“The Hot School Meals Programme has been a great success and is very popular with children and parents alike. I’m pleased to hear that funding will continue during the upcoming Easter holidays. Ensuring funding for the School Meals Programme, across both the school terms and holiday periods, offers a security for children who rely on this important support.

“While this is a welcomed measure from the Minister, I believe consideration should be given to providing school meal funding to all schools across the country.

“I will be pressing for more funds to be allocated in Budget 2022 to expand the scheme, something that I intend to raise with the Minister, and an issue that I hope we can work on constructively together”, he concluded.

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