Thursday, 29 April 2021
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
School Meals Programme
As the Ceann Comhairle pointed out, one school is being funded for hot meals and the other is being funded for cold meals, and they are located right beside each other. I appreciate there are resource limits and it is a pilot scheme but it seems we are missing a trick here in being able to provide cheaply and easily an extension by simply treating the two schools on one site as one unit. I have no doubt there are many other schools, both in and outside the scheme, that could also benefit from this. Treating them as one unit would allow an expansion of the scheme with very few additional resources and facilities.
As the Minister of State said, this is a very important meal scheme for enabling people to engage in education, which is very important for enabling them to reach their full potential. This is why Deputy Collins and I raised the issue. We want the children of Mary Queen of Angels 2 to be able to reach their potential as much as the children of Mary Queen of Angels 1.
I have no doubt there are many other co-located schools. Extending provision to these schools seems to be a quick, easy and relatively cheap way to expand the scheme. I appreciate that, as the Minister of State indicated, budgetary constraints would need to be taken into account but surely expanding the scheme to co-located schools is the quickest and cheapest way to extend this very worthy scheme to needy communities.