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A scheme to be launched where all pupils in Ireland receive free meals every day at school

DUBLIN: A scheme is being launched where every student in every school in Ireland gets free hot food every day at school.

This project will be started in the most backward schools next September and will be extended to more schools in the next few years. It is recommended that the project be implemented in all schools across the country by 2030.

The study committee formed for the purpose has recommended that the new scheme be implemented as a revamped scheme of the school meals programme, which is currently in place in 1,600 schools throughout the country.

A school-level study panel discovered that the school meals programme improved class attendance, behaviour management, and concentration.

Heather Humphreys, Minister of Social Protection, will release the study report today.

The government may raise the current breakfast price for children from 60 cents to 75 cents. A breakfast plan consisting of bread, fruit, milk, or yoghurt is maintained.

The scheme is currently funding a few schools at €1.40 per lunch, which includes a sandwich and a hot drink, while the current limited funding of €2.90 per student for each hot school meal is being increased to €3.20 in all schools across the country. The goal of the school feeding programme is to provide regular and nutritious meals to children who, due to poverty, are unable to fully benefit from the education provided to them. According to the study report, the programme could be expanded to include meals during Christmas, Easter, and mid-term breaks.

The study report has suggested that kitchen facilities should be ensured in all new schools, and kitchen facilities should be added in schools that did not have a kitchen till now.

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