Greens want to provide every schoolchild with a hot meal a day

A new policy to give every schoolchild at least one hot meal a day has been launched by the Green Party.

If implemented, it would see every schoolchild in the country offered at least one meal during the school day.

The policy, supported by Michelin Star restaurateur Kevin Thornton, would cost in the region of €350m a year to implement.

It is aimed at tackling the dual problems of child obesity and food poverty and to end the situation where one in five children go to school hungry every day.

Funding of the programme would come from “tax revenues, other sources of revenue, and a small contribution from all parents not in receipt of State benefits”, while a statutory obligation would be placed on local authorities to provide a school dinner scheme in their area.

Greens want to provide every schoolchild with a hot meal a day

Kevin Thornton

The Green Party also said that the school day may need to be lengthened to give children enough time to have a proper “sit-down” meal and time to relax and play afterwards.

Food would be prepared daily using fresh local produce and include vegetarian and vegan options, as well as foods from different ethnic cultures. The menus would be “well-balanced and sensitive to the traditions of different cultures and their proscriptions on certain foods, such as pork and beef”.

Deputy leader of the Green Party Cllr Catherine Martin said the policy was not just ambitious and realistic but also something that should be aspired to.

“The Green Party’s school dinners policy received a fantastic reception when we sought feedback from teachers, headmasters, and parents alike. It’s strongly modelled on the Finnish system, which is consistently ranked as the best education system in the world. It’s unacceptable that 20% of our children are going to school hungry,” she said.


Lifestyle

Esther N McCarthy is starry-eyed for prints, eager for elephants and jealous of a toaster this weekWe're all starry-eyed for prints, eager for elephants and jealous of a toaster this week

Cross rope bridges strung across the Atlantic or visit reimagining of time gone by; whatever you fancy doing, you’ll find it in Ulster.Staycations 2020: Take your pick from these great things to do in Ulster

I can’t eat anything without chilli flakes stuffed into itShape I'm In: Novelis Emma Murray

Peter Dowdall has advice on caring for these perennial favouritesLook after your peonies and they'll brighten your garden

More From The Irish Examiner