The state should provide sufficient funding for free breakfast in all schools Equality (Isotita) union said in an official letter sent out on Wednesday.

The union’s letter, which was made public, was addressed to the president, the minister of education and the relevant parliamentary committee.

In its statement, Isotita expressed concern over the way the state handles food aid for underprivileged children in schools, noting that the existing policies on school breakfasts are inadequate and stigmatise students.

Among other proposals, the union suggested that the value of the vouchers supplied to participating children should be increased to €3, as currently each voucher is for €1.45 with which they have to buy a €2.10 sandwich, or a drink, but cannot purchase both, leaving many children without food later in the year.

Isotita called into question the voucher system itself, saying a new more discrete system must be found and suggested that all students display a voucher to cafeteria staff who would have some other way to know which children did not need to pay. Alternately, vouchers should be banned altogether, and the state should offer a free breakfast to all children, the union proposed.

“Existing school breakfast policies and food and drink vouchers perpetuate discrimination between students and this needs to be addressed urgently,” the union concluded in its statement.