Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Ceisteanna (410, 411)

Gino Kenny

Ceist:

410. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Social Protection the estimated full year cost of providing free school meals for all primary school pupils. [44940/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Gino Kenny

Ceist:

411. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Social Protection the estimated full year cost of providing free school meals for all post-primary school pupils. [44941/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 410 and 411 together.

The school meals programme provides funding towards the provision of food to some 1,506 schools and organisations benefitting 230,000 children. The objective of the programme 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 programme provides funding towards food services for disadvantaged school children through two schemes - the urban school meals scheme and the school meals (local projects) scheme. The Urban School Meals Scheme for primary schools is operated and administered by local authorities and is part-financed by my Department. 44,095 pupils in 301 primary schools benefit from the Urban School Meals Scheme. 188 of these schools also benefit from funding for school meals through the local projects scheme.

A budget of €65.1 million has been provided for the scheme in 2021.

According to the Department of Education website there are 379,184 students enrolled in 730 secondary schools. To provide a breakfast/snack at 60c per child, per day, to all students in these schools and a lunch at €1.40 per child, per day, would cost €125.1m for a full school year.

According to the Department of Education website there are 561,411 pupils in 3,241 primary schools in Ireland. To provide a breakfast/snack at 60c per child, per day, to all pupils in these schools and a lunch at €1.40 per child, per day, would cost €202.1m for a full school year.

I trust that this clarifies the position for the Deputy.

Question No. 411 answered with Question No. 410.