Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (1903)

Róisín Shortall


1903. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will address the situation in which schools (details supplied) have been left out of a school meals initiative in Ballymun, Dublin 9 and 11 when the profile of these schools is the same as the schools that have been included; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36839/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The school meals programme provides funding towards the provision of food to some 1,580 schools and organisations benefitting 250,000 children at a total cost of €57.6 million in 2019 representing an increase of €3.6 million over the previous year. The objective of the scheme is to provide regular, nutritious food to children who are unable, due to lack of good quality food, to take full advantage of the education provided to them. The programme is an important component of policies to encourage school attendance and extra educational achievement.

The scheme provides funding for a breakfast or snack for all children and lunch for up to 90% of children in DEIS schools for the entire school year from September to June.

The three schools identified by the Deputy are DEIS schools and are currently being funded for a breakfast/snack for all children and a lunch for up to 90% of children based on the enrolment figure provided by the Department of Education and Skills.

Funding for additional clubs can only be considered where a historical entitlement exists. No historical entitlement to an additional club exists for these three schools.

Changes to increase the funding of the scheme, to provide a third food club in DEIS schools, would have to be considered in a budgetary context.

I trust this clarifies the matter.