The Hot School Meal Project should be extended according to Caitríona McClean, Fianna Fáil activist in Lucan and candidate in GE20. Caitríona McClean, although not elected, continues to work for the community and is calling for the Hot School Meals initiative to be extended to all schools that expressed an interest. The project was recently launched by Minister Heather Humphreys on the back of a successful pilot.
Caitríona wrote to the Minister for further details. She was delighted to find that the Department responded in a timely and comprehensive manner to her queries. The Hot School Meals project is not determined by needs in its scope but by a predetermined budget. 281 schools responded positively, but the budget only allowed 189 to participate. In our local authority area of South Dublin County Council 25 schools expressed an interest but only 15 schools were successful for no reason apart from random selection. That means that 10 schools that believe their children would benefit from a hot meal will be denied that opportunity.
‘This is awful. As a parent you don’t randomly select which of your kids to feed. I am calling for the budget to be extended and all schools that expressed an interest to be included.’ says McClean. ‘The money involved is insignificant against vast government spending and it’s really unfair in my view to give only some vulnerable children an advantage. By literally randomly selecting only some of the children when we believe in the potential positive impact of the project on daily lives of all children, we are leaving some behind. ‘ The Minister’s staff confirmed that a pro rata increase in the funding would extend the project to all schools that expressed an interest. The Budget was €5.5m but extending it pro rata to include the third left out would allow all who asked to be included to be provided with a hot meal.