Minister Doherty announces expansion of School Meals Programme

Print page

Minister Doherty announces expansion of School Meals Programme

Expenditure on School Meals to reach €54 million

Programme currently includes some 250,000 children


Friday, 22nd June 2018: Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty, T.D., has announced an expansion, from September 2018, of the School Meals Programme with the budget reaching up to €54 million for the coming academic year.

Priority has been given to schools where there is most need and these schools are now being invited to participate in the programme from September 2018.

Minister Doherty said: 
“The School Meals Programme makes a real difference and is a priority for me as Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection. We all know that early intervention is vital and there is no better time to start than with breakfast. It is one of the single most effective ways to set a child up for the day, and for life.

Providing children with regular nutritious food allows then to take full advantage of the education being provided for them and can greatly enhance a child’s ability to learn.

The Programme is also an important component of policies to encourage school attendance and improved learning outcomes for children, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

My Department leads the way on social inclusion. This is not only with income supports, but with services helping people to find a job, supporting a return to education or training, or offering advice on setting up a business. We work for sustainable pathways to a better life and the School Meals Programme is an important component of this.

My Department is currently making contact with eligible schools. I strongly encourage all of them to sign up for the Programme.” 

The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, T.D., also welcomed the further extension of the School Meals Programme:

“The extension of this programme shows our Government’s commitment to providing every child with the opportunity to fulfil their potential, regardless of circumstances.  Access to nutritious food to allow pupils concentrate and reach their potential is vital.”

The School Meals Programme currently benefits some 250,000 children in more than 1,500 schools nationwide by providing breakfast, lunch, or a combination of the two.  There is clear evidence that it raises nutrition levels in children which, in turn, is linked to the ability to learn and to benefit from education.


Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Last modified:22/06/2018