Hungry children in schools

Tue, Aug 26, 2014, 01:06

Sir, – As a retired Deis school principal, I commend Alison Healy for her article “More children arriving in school hungry, survey of teachers finds” (Home News, August 25th).

I have written to The Irish Times previously on this issue and I believe that it is something that must be addressed urgently.

There is a wonderful scheme administered by the Department of Social Protection called the School Meals Scheme. It funds certain schools to provide breakfasts, lunches and snacks to their pupils. While I was principal, I found this scheme to be invaluable. The positive outcomes for children in such areas as discipline, attendance and educational development were hugely enhanced by the provision of a healthy, nutritious and daily lunch.

I have written to Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton on many occasions in praise of this scheme. However there are many schools that have huge food poverty issues that are not included in the scheme. I would respectfully urge the Government, and in particular Ms Burton, to review the School Meals Scheme with a view to expanding it to include those needy children. I know that this is an issue that is close to the Minister’s heart and it would be money very well spent. Our children are the future for this great country. Let’s make sure that they are well nourished in school and allow them to give of their best. – Yours, etc,

PAT BURKE WALSH,

Ballymoney,

Co Wexford.