Today’s childcare services protest is ‘unwarranted’ and ‘unfair’, the Children's Minister has said.
Around 500 childcare providers funded through the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) scheme will close in protest at what they say is an "inadequate level of funding" in Budget 2023.
Minister Roderic O'Gorman told Newstalk Breakfast he rejects the claim.
"I don't believe the protest is justified," he said.
"I think it's unwarranted and I'm really disappointed to see it going ahead.
"It's a huge inconvenience for the parents impacted, and I think it's unfair on children as well."
'This action is unwarranted'
Minister O'Gorman said the Government had "prioritised" childcare investment.
"With Budget 23, we'll see €1 billion invested per year in childcare for the first time.
"We're looking to support parents, we're looking to support childcare staff and we're looking to support the providers of services".
He said the investments will actually help ECCE services.
"I genuinely believe that this action is unwarranted, we're seeing unprecedented investment into the childcare sector," he said.
"This investment is going to support all services, large and small, and particularly for the ECCE-only services.
"Last year they would have received €14 million through the Programme Support Payment and higher capitation.
"Through core funding, those same services will be provided with €27 million this year - so a €13 million increase," he added.
A second protest is planned for November 25th.