Schools vending machine strategy is junk
Junk-food vending machines have no place in schools, and that's precisely why they should be left there.
Last week's hand-wringing by government – "We should be moving in the direction of healthy food," declared Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald – convinced nobody. By contrast, however, the unignorable presence of an automated fast-food outlet in a school corridor provides students with an eloquent lesson in the boundless depths of civic hypocrisy.
Schoolkids have to learn the facts of life: doublespeak is Ireland's national tongue. Political pledges to combat childhood obesity are just lip-service. The annual €1.3m that 700 schools earn from vending machines comes in extremely handy when much of the education system is starved of resources.
Far from banning in-school junk-dispensers, we should demand the installation of further teaching aids. Fruit machines would be ideal; every pull of the handle could be presented as an exercise in ensuring that students get their five a day.