Senator Aisling Dolan - Strong Voice, New Vision.

Hot School Meals for 18 more primary schools in Co. Roscommon

April 15, 2024

Hot School Meals for 18 more primary schools in Co. Roscommon

  • 900 additional primary schools offering hot school meals from April 2024
  • 150,000 children will benefit from expansion
  • Hot School Meals Programme grows from 30 schools to over 2,000 schools
  • Remaining schools can now apply to receive Hot School Meals from September
  • “A child born in Ireland today will be guaranteed access to a hot meal by the time they start school” – Minister Humphreys

I welcome the announcement today from An Taoiseach Simon Harris and Minister Heather Humphreys on the increase of 900 more schools taking part in the hot school meals programme which will benefit more than 150,000 children. This investment through the Department of Social Protection means hot school meals are being made available to eighteen more primary schools in County Roscommon.

I’ve spoken to Principals recently who highlighted the incredible impact of hot school meals for their school. How this has been a major transformation in the day to day lives of school children in Ireland. This landmark investment shows government’s central focus on childrens wellbeing.

Children eating vegetables for the first time with their classmates. How it is well organised as children choose their meals with little to no waste.

Now with the news today – more children and families in Co. Roscommon will have hot school meals available in their school. Parents won’t have the additional morning task of preparing lunches and know that their children will have a good nutritious meal during the day. And it also helps children focus more in school.

An evaluation in 2022 by the Department of Social Protection highlighted the positive impact of hot school meals with teachers speaking about improved attendance, behaviour management and concentration in class. And high percentage of students indicated they very much enjoyed the meals”

I encouraged schools to sign up to this pilot last year and I’m delighted to see so many take part in County Roscommon. It is an incredible achievement to see the investment through Minister Heather Humphreys and the Department of Social Protection to expand this programme from 30 schools to over 2,000 schools. I know An Taoiseach Simon Harris is a strong advocate of funding and investment for hot school meals to all schools. There will also be an opportunity for more schools to express interest in this programme from September of this year.”

Taoiseach Simon Harris said:

“We launched Hot School Meals as a pilot five years ago and it has seen huge demand ever since. Today’s expansion to an additional 150,000 children means that over 316,000 children can now receive a nutritious, hot meal during their school day.

“As Taoiseach I have promised to focus on delivery of our pledges to help families and today’s announcement is just one of the ways I am planning to do this.”

Minister Humphreys said:

“When I was appointed Minister for Social Protection in June 2020, there were 30 schools receiving hot meals. Today’s announcement means that from today there are over 2,000 primary schools able to benefit from hot school meals. Every school that submitted an expression of interest has been brought into the scheme.

 “However, as news of the positive experience has spread, some schools that had not signed up previously are now interested in coming on board. I am delighted to hear this, so I am opening a new round of expressions of interest to allow us to bring hot school meals to these schools.