Minister must confirm that school meals will continue during Easter break
- Senator highlights need for €100m ‘Catch-Up for Children’ scheme focused on vulnerable children
With the Easter break approaching, Labour Senator Rebecca Moynihan has called on the Minister for Social Protection to confirm that school meals will continue to be made available to children during the holidays.
Senator Moynihan said:
“The SVP report issued yesterday is really alarming. The inequality exacerbated by the pandemic needs to be addressed. We cannot have a situation whereby a quarter of people living in Ireland are going hungry. We know that schools provide crucial supports to vulnerable students and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. With the Easter break on the horizon, no child or family should be left hungry or unsupported.
“Labour is urging the government to ensure school meals are provided to children who need them during the Easter break. It is vital no child goes hungry during lockdown and that social supports are continued. Hunger does not take a break when schools take one. In the first lockdown from last March school meals continued in various formats including as food parcels and vouchers. The Minister for Social Protection should confirm as quickly as possible that arrangements will be put in place for Easter.
“Prolonged school closures have had a profound effect upon children across the State. However, the negative impacts have been greatest upon children with disabilities, children with special educational needs, children in poverty and homelessness and other vulnerable children. The long-term effects of this troubling situation will worsen, the longer it is left unaddressed. That’s why Labour is calling on the Government to create a €100m ‘Catch-Up for Children’ scheme to make up for all the education and related benefits that our children have missed out on in the last year, with interventions particularly focussed on vulnerable children.
“We know the pandemic has impacted really hard on children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. Children have found their routines severely impacted and the fact that they are at home more often puts significant pressure on household budgets. Rights are not suspended in a public health crisis. In fact, during times of crisis, human rights are needed most.”