March 25, 2021
The Hot School Meals Programme will be extended to five primary schools in Cavan and Monaghan, a Fine Gael Minister has announced.
Minister Heather Humphreys said: “The Covid-19 pandemic presented everyone with many challenges over the past twelve months, including our school children in both Cavan and Monaghan and especially those who would previously have come to school each morning without a breakfast.
“The Hot Meals Programme is a major initiative to encourage school attendance when schools are open, when schools are closed and when classes are held virtually.
“This initiative will consequently facilitate better educational outcomes by the schoolchildren and help tackle the issue of education disadvantage.”
“The Department contacted some700 primary schools currently receiving the cold lunch option under the School Meals Programme in November seeking expressions of interest to avail of the hot school meal.
“The hot meals will be available to all pupils enrolled in these schools, which do not have canteen/kitchen facilities for preparation of the hot dinners on site.
“The hot meal will replace the cold lunch option that had been in place previously. Each school must identify a supplier who will supply (prepare and deliver) the hot meals in line with HACCP and food safety regulations in compliance with the Healthy Ireland ‘Nutrition Standards for Hot School Meals’.
“Schools will be expected to provide a menu choice of at least two different meals per day plus a Vegetarian/Vegan and an option that caters for students’ religious and cultural dietary requirements.”
Also, today, Minister Humphreys published ‘Evaluation of the Hot Meals Pilot’ which was carried out on behalf of the Department and completed in July 2020.
Minister Humphreys commented: “This research has found that the hot school meals pilot project had a very positive impact on their child’s attendance at school, physical health and psychological wellbeing.
“Overall, the results were encouraging with the majority of parents, teachers and SNAs rating the hot meals as better quality than food that children ate previously.
“This is a sound endorsement for the expansion of the Hot School Meals programme and I would hope to extend it further to include additional schools in the future.”
Scoil Naomh Deagha
Scoil Naomh Padraig
S N Cholmcille
Carraig Mhachaire Rois
Scoil Mhuire B
St Clares Primary School