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Review of Urban & Gaeltacht School Meals Schemes


Department of Social and Family Affairs

Subject Keywords: A review of the scheme to to provide meals to school children
Topic: Obesity
Chronic Conditions
Type: Report
Region: Republic of Ireland

The School Meals Scheme ( SMS or "the Scheme") provides "meals" to some 60,000 pupils in almost 400 schools at a total overall cost of approximately "2.47m (£1.95m) per annum. As part of its Expenditure Review Programme, the Department of Social and Family Affairs ( D/S&FA), which has responsibility in legislation for the SMS, established a Working Group (WG) to review the Scheme from first principles. The SMS has two distinct elements, the Urban and the Gaeltacht Schemes. The Urban Scheme was introduced in 1914 as a two-year discretionary measure in response to the Great Strike or Lockout of 1913. The time limit was later removed. The objective of the Scheme was to assist children who, because they had insufficient food to eat at home, were unable to take full advantage of the education provided for them. The Gaeltacht Scheme was introduced in 1930 and covered specific Gaeltacht areas in the counties of Cork, Donegal, Galway, Kerry and Mayo. It has been gradually discontinued and last operated in 1991. The Local Authorities (LAs) undertake day to day administration of the Scheme. The D/S&FA legislation enables LAs other than County Councils to operate the Scheme. Eligible LAs are not compelled to operate the Scheme. Each year some 34 LAs out of 85 eligible LAs operate the Scheme. There have been relatively few changes to the Scheme since it was first introduced.



Rights: © Department of Social and Family Affairs
Suggested citation:

Department of Social and Family Affairs. (2002) Review of Urban & Gaeltacht School Meals Schemes [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 21st November 2019].


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