04 Dec 2021

Offaly schools included in further rollout of hot meals programme

Offaly schools included in further rollout of hot meals programme

Offaly schools included in further rollout of hot meals programme

Two Offaly schools have been included in an extension to the Hot Schools Meals Programme announced today by Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys TD.

Up to 16,000 pupils from 81 new DEIS school will be able to benefit from the programme from January 2022 at a cost of €3m.

has today announced an extension of the Hot Schools Meals Programme, which will benefit up to 16,000 additional primary school pupils.

The Offaly schools included are Mercy Primary in Birr and Scoil Phroinsias Naofa in Clara.

All of the schools being invited to participate are currently availing of the cold lunch option under the School Meals Programme.

Welcoming the news, Offaly-based Minister Pippa Hackett said: “As a mother, I’m well aware of the importance of children being nourished for school so I’m very pleased to see three Laois-Offaly schools among those added to the Hot School Meals Programme.

"Additional funding for this in Budget 2022 means Scoil Bride in Knockmay, Mercy Primary in Birr, Scoil Phroinsias Naofa in Clara and 78 other schools across the country are now included. This extension will ensure that an additional 16,000 primary school pupils receive a hot, nutritious meal every school day – a total of 55,650 children in all. Looking after our most vulnerable is the work of government and I welcome this announcement.”

Making today’s announcement, Minister Heather Humphreys said: “I am really pleased today to announce an extension of the Hot School Meals Programme to 81 DEIS schools across the country.

“This €3 million investment, which I secured as part of the Budget, means we can significantly expand the programme to benefit up to 16,000 primary school pupils who were previously availing of the cold lunch option.

“Receiving a hot meal in the middle of the day is so important for nutrition but also for a child’s mental and physical wellbeing.

“It also leads to better educational outcomes and an improvement in the overall wellbeing of our children.

“As Minister, I am delighted to see this programme extended so that thousands more children and their families can benefit.”

The Minister concluded: “The Hot School Meals Programme was initially launched on a pilot basis in 2019, serving 37 schools and some 6,600 primary school pupils.

“This extension means that over 55,000 primary school pupils will now benefit from a hot meal each day.

“I hope that we can see further progress in the coming months that will result in future expansions of this really important programme once again.”

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