First Serving of Hot School Meals Project Commences in Inchicore

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First Serving of Hot School Meals Project Commences in Inchicore

Ministers Doherty and Byrne Launch First Pilot in Inchicore


Monday, 28 January, 2019: Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, T.D. launched a Hot School Meals scheme for Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School in Goldenbridge, Inchicore today when visiting the school with local T.D. Catherine Byrne, Minister of State at the Department of Health. 

This is the first Hot School Meals scheme to be introduced and it will serve to road-test the idea and identify any issues before a larger pilot initiative is rolled out later this year.  During this initial pilot, almost 250 pupils attending this school will receive a hot meal at lunchtime each day. It will run until the end of the current school year (end June).  

As part of Budget 2019, Minister Doherty announced that hot dinners will be provided on a pilot basis in up to 36 schools to some 7,200 children from September 2019 at a cost of €1m for 2019 and €2.5m in a full year. 

The pilot will initially be targeted at Primary Schools which do not currently avail of the dinner option under the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection’s School Meals Programme and do not have canteen/kitchen facilities for preparation of the hot dinners on site.


Minister Doherty said:

Funding the provision of food services in schools guarantees on-going positive returns on public investment in the health and educational performance of future generations. I would like to thank the management of Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School for participating in this initial pilot project with my Department during the rest of this school year.  It will help us to review all aspects of the scheme and to refine it before we roll it out to other schools next September.”

The existing School Meals Programme provides funding towards the provision of food to some 1,580 schools and organisations benefitting 250,000 children.  Funding for the scheme has been increased significantly over a series of Budgets from €35 million in 2012 to €57.6 million in 2018.

The Programme is an important component of policies to encourage school attendance and extra educational achievement by children especially those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.

Minister of State Byrne welcomed the Hot School Meals scheme to Goldenbridge:

“Research shows us the value of the provision of adequate and nutritious meals for a child’s health, learning, attention and educational achievement. Under the Healthy Ireland Framework, the health and wellbeing of children is a priority across Government. That is why I am delighted that Minister Doherty is providing funds to establish a pilot programme for a hot meals scheme in schools.

I would like to commend Tonya Hanly, the School Principal, and her dedicated staff in Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School, Goldenbridge, for facilitating this pilot. I’d also like to welcome Carambola CEO Colm O’Brien and his team, who will be providing the meals to the school and helping to develop a model for the wider pilot programme later in the year."

Speaking about the wider pilot scheme, due to commence in September, Minister Doherty explained:

“My Department will be contacting Primary Schools within the next 3-4 weeks seeking expressions of interest to participate in the extended pilot programme from September.  If successful, I would hope to work with the Department of Education and Skills in extending the scheme to additional schools in future years and establish the scheme on a permanent basis.”

Food provided under the pilot project will comply with the recently introduced Healthy Ireland ‘Nutrition Standards for School Meals’.


Photos available from Shane O’Neill photography.  Contact:

Note for Editors
Sample of Weekly Menu follows.      

Hot Food Menu 2019 
Our Lady of Lourdes NS, Inchicore, Dublin

Chicken Curry & Brown Rice
Vegetable Curry & Brown Rice

Penne Bolognese
Tomato Pasta

Turkey Meatballs & Potato
Vegiballs & Potato

Beef Casserole
Vegan Chili

Fish Bites & Wedges
Vegan Sausage & Wedges

Last modified:28/01/2019