Fianna Fáil TD for Limerick City, Willie O’Dea TD has said that he fears the School Meals Programme is under threat in Limerick due to a delay by the Department of Social Protection in paying companies supplying school meals.

“Yesterday, I met with one such company who provides meals under the school meals programme. They informed me that there has been a delay from the Department of Social Protection in paying them for their services and this is causing them significant financial hardship,” said the Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection.

“Without payment from the Department of Social Protection, the company may have no other option but to withdraw this essential service leaving thousands of marginalised children without school meals.”

“The School Meals Programme is a vital service. It is relied on by thousands of low income households, many of whom are at risk of experiencing food poverty due to an inadequate income, and any doubts over its future will cause families in Limerick deep concern.

“The Minister for Social Protection must urgently rectify this situation and ensure that marginalised and vulnerable children are in no way affected by this issue. The companies involved deserve to be paid for their work, but above all else, the children who rely on this programme cannot be left without it,” concluded O’Dea.