The school meals programme will continue throughout the summer break, it has been announced.
Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty made the announcement at a press briefing this evening.
The Department say the programme provides funding towards the provision of food to some 1,580 schools and organisations benefitting 250,000 children.
“The objective of the scheme is to provide regular, nutritious food to children who are unable, due to lack of good quality food, to take full advantage of the education provided to them,” said a statement.
Ms Doherty said that the programme normally ends with the end of the school year.
“However, I want the funding to be available over the summer period to support children who do not have access to nutritious food to enable them to continue to receive meals during the summer school holidays,” she said.
“I am therefore making the funding available to all the schools and organisations currently in the programme over the summer for approximately nine weeks until the funding for the 2020/2021 school year commences.”
Ms Doherty added: "I have always felt that the social effects of the pandemic needed to be tackled as much as the health threat. For many children and families, the school meals programme was incredibly important in literally putting food on the table during the lockdown and I want that to continue."
The news comes as it was confirmed that almost all remaining businesses will be able to reopen on Monday as Ireland took a major step out of lockdown.
Foreign travel to certain countries from July 9 has also been also approved by Cabinet.
Families will be able to meet up while a list of countries for travel from which quarantining is not necessary will be published next month.
Ministers also agreed to make the wearing of face masks on public transport mandatory.
A new once-off grant of €1,000 will also be made available to the self-employed and those employing less than 10 people.
Meanwhile, it was announced that there has been
It brings the death toll in Ireland to 1,727.
The Department of Health has also announced that there have been 11 new confirmed cases of the virus in the country.
There are now 25,405 cases of the virus in the country.