Eight Limerick schools have been included in the scheme
EIGHT Limerick schools have included in the Hot School Meals Programme 2021, which has been launched by the Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys.
As part of Budget 2021, the minister secured an additional €5.5 million for the extension of the programme to primary school pupils who had been availing of the cold lunch only.
Following expressions of interest and a national 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. The hot meal will replace the cold lunch which has been in place to date.
The Limerick schools are Catherine McAuley special school, Ballylanders NS, Gaelscoil Sheoirse-Clancy, St Michael's NS, Our Lady of Lourdes NS, Scoil Iosagain, Scoil Aine Naofa and Presentation Primary School.
Each school included on the programme must identify a supplier who will supply the hot meals in line with the relevant food safety regulations and 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 option, as well as an option that caters for pupils’ religious and cultural dietary requirements.
Welcoming the inclusion of the eight Limerick schools, Limerick TD, Kieran O'Donnell says the programme will operate over the Easter holidays.
“Before the Covid-19 pandemic, funding for the School Meals Programme had been confined to the academic year, however the Department of Social Protection has ensured that this support has continued throughout, including during term breaks and school holidays. I can reassure schools and parents in Limerick that the funding for the programme will also continue during the Easter break. This will be done through the provision of food parcels," he said.
“The funding for the School Meals Programme throughout the entire school terms and holidays offers a security for many vulnerable of schoolchildren by ensuring that participating schools in Limerick can provide food parcels benefiting pupils during this time," he added.