26 schools and five organisations are benefitting from the programme across Carlow
Figures on the number of schools and organisations in Carlow participating in the school meals programme revealed that 26 schools and five organisations are benefitting from the programme.
Carlow/Kilkenny TD Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection for the number of schools participating in the school meals programme; and the number of children benefitting in this regard.
There are 56 schools in Carlow (44 primary, 12 secondary) serving over 12,000 pupils across the county.
In a written response, the Minister said: "The school meals programme provides funding towards the provision of food to some 1,580 schools and organisations benefitting up to 250,000 children at a total cost of €54 million in 2018 representing an increase of €6.5 million over the previous year.
"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.
"The programme is an important component of policies to encourage school attendance and extra educational achievement."
She added: "There are two schemes operated under the school meals programme. The first scheme is the school meals local projects scheme through which funding is provided directly to participating schools and local and voluntary community groups who run their own school meals projects.
"The second is the urban school meals scheme which is operated by local authorities in some 300 schools and part-financed by the Department."
There were three schools in Carlow benefitting under this urban school scheme.