SDLP West Tyrone MLA Daniel McCrossan has accused the DUP of allowing children to become collateral damage to their reckless strategy of collapsing Stormont following confirmation from the Department of Education that resource has yet to be allocated to the free school meal payment scheme to prevent 98,000 children going hungry this summer.
Mr McCrossan, a former member of Stormont’s Education Committee, has called on parents and carers to contact DUP MLAs to express their frustration at the cynical decision to put party politics ahead of the needs of children and hard-pressed families.
Daniel McCrossan MLA said:
“It is outrageous that children across Northern Ireland will be left to go hungry during school holidays because resource has not yet been allocated to the free school meal payment scheme to provide hard-pressed families with vital money to get food on the table.
“It is not good enough that DUP MLAs walked into Stormont last week, signed the register to take their salaries, but are happy to let 98,000 children go hungry this summer while they continue to play political games. I understand that the protocol is important to Jeffrey Donaldson, but it cannot be more important than the wellbeing of thousands of children across all of our communities. They cannot become collateral damage to this DUP scheme.
“The SDLP has proposed expanding the free school meal payment scheme to ensure that every child gets a hot meal every day at home and at school, not just during school holidays. The intransigence of the DUP cannot continue and I would urge parents and carers to make their feelings on this important issue known.”